No world champ hang­over for Lewis

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

ABU DHABI: Where James Hunt might have stag­gered di­shev­elled into the morn­ing after the night be­fore, prob­a­bly clutch­ing bot­tles in both hands on the way to bed, Lewis Hamil­ton cel­e­brated his sec­ond For­mula One ti­tle yes­ter­day with bright eyes and a spring in his step.

A glass of wa­ter­melon juice, and a few sips of “some kind of Co­gnac thing”, was suf­fi­cient carous­ing for Bri­tain’s first mul­ti­ple cham­pion since Jackie Ste­wart.

One of only four Bri­tons, in­clud­ing the late Gra­ham Hill, to have won the ti­tle twice, Hamil­ton said his achieve­ment had yet to sink in.

“I feel fresh, I only had one drink last night, which is more than good enough for me,” the Mercedes driver told a break­fast news con­fer­ence.

“I don’t drink Cham­pagne. I had a wa­ter­melon juice at din­ner, which is my favourite. Then when I was at the party there was some kind of Co­gnac thing ... but it didn’t taste very nice.

“So I had a cou­ple of sips and that was it. I knew I had to be up early as well.”

If the early hour was not greeted with univer­sal de­light, there were no com­plaints from the man of the mo­ment.

“It’s def­i­nitely an in­cred­i­ble feel­ing to wake up this morn­ing feel­ing fresh in my sur­round­ings and with all the dif­fer­ent peo­ple who have been in­volved in my ca­reer over 21 years,” he en­thused yes­ter­day.

“The sun is shin­ing and I feel re­ally blessed.”

His mo­bile had gone crazy, the texts and emails flood­ing in, and he promised to an­swer them all.

The first cham­pion for a Mercedes works team since Ar­gen­tine Juan Manuel Fan­gio in 1955, Hamil­ton said he spent Sun­day evening with fam­ily, just rem­i­nisc­ing about the jour­ney they had been on.

Hamil­ton, win­ner of 11 races this sea­son, re­called his early kart­ing days, sit­ting by a gas heater drink­ing chicken soup from a flask, and the sac­ri­fices his fa­ther had made.

“Then I popped out to the party, and (Mercedes mo­tor­sport head) Toto (Wolff) was all over the place at that point,” laughed Hamil­ton, Wolff sit­ting along­side with a pained ex­pres­sion.

Beaten team­mate Nico Ros­berg had Tweeted after the race that “now it’s time to fight for the party world cham­pi­onship”.

The Ger­man, else­where yes­ter­day, seemed to have won the bat­tle.

Hamil­ton was happy to let that one go at least.

Mean­while, Fer­rari have re­placed Marco Mat­ti­acci with Mau­r­izio Ar­riv­abene as team prin­ci­pal in the lat­est shake-up for the strug­gling team.

Mat­ti­acci lasted just seven months on the job after be­ing hired in April to re­place Ste­fano Domeni­cali.

Last week, the Ital­ian au­tomaker an­nounced that Se­bas­tian Vet­tel was re­plac­ing Fer­nando Alonso as the team’s lead­ing driver along­side Kimi Raikko­nen. – Reuters/Sapa-AP

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