LEWIS HAMILTON will turn his attention to getting his new Mercedes deal done now the F1 season is over.
The world champ finished third in the Abu Dhabi GP after Max Verstappen claimed an excellent victory for Red Bull.
Lewis Hamilton celebrated his F1 return by performing doughnutsCredit: Getty Images – Getty
The Brit finished third in Abu Dhabi but had already scooped the Driver’s ChampionshipCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Still coughing during a post-race interview, he said he was “grateful to be alive”.
He said: “I don’t think I’ve ever been so blown. My body isn’t feeling great but look on the bright side, I made it through.
“I didn’t think any time last week that I would be here, so, I am just truly grateful for my health and to be alive.
“I am looking forward to recovering over the next period of time we have and being back into training and getting my body back to where I know it should be.
“You can’t win them all, so, I think considering the past couple of weeks that I’ve had, I am really, generally, happy with the weekend.
“It’s obviously not 100 per cent, it’s not as good as I’d perhaps have liked but congratulations to Max. That was a really hard race for me.
“All year physically I have been fine, but today I definitely wasn’t so I am just glad it is over.”
I didn’t think any time last week that I would be here, so, I am just truly grateful for my health and to be alive
Before Hamilton can put his feet up, he will hold discussion with Merc boss Toto Wolff over new terms.
He is understood to have agreed wages of up to £40million for at least two years while the two are now haggling over the fine print, including media and sponsorship requirements.
When quizzed as to when he can expect to sign the deal, Hamilton added: “Hopefully over the next couple of weeks.
“We would love to get it done before Christmas. The plan is to be here at Mercedes next year and I want to be here.
“Us as a team have more to achieve both in and out of the sport, so I hope we can begin talks again this week and get it tied up before Christmas.”
Take nothing away from Verstappen’s win, but this was a dreary GP as the Yas Marina circuit served up another dullard after some excellent races in this short season.
A total of 17 GPs in 23 weekends has been a punishing schedule for those on the road, who won’t want telling it is just 95 days until practice in Melbourne for the 2021 season opener.
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Verstappen is hoping that this, his second win of 2020, bodes well for his chances of wrestling the title out of Hamilton’s hands next season.
He said: “It is a great way to finish the season and a big boost for everyone in the team.
“I just hope that we learn from previous years that we have to be stronger at the beginning of the season to be able to give the Mercedes drivers a little bit of a harder time.”