Lewis Hamilton has credited Mercedes’ supreme reliability record for making the difference in their victorious championship battle with Ferrari in 2017.
The four-time world champions boast the best race-finishing record in the field with Valtteri Bottas retirement at the Spanish GP in May the only one the double title-winning W08 has suffered all year.
Hamilton is the only driver on the grid to finish every race and will become just the second world champion since 1963 to go through a title-winning campaign without a DNF if he finishes Sunday’s season-ending Abu Dhabi GP.
Before flying out to the UAE, Hamilton joined Mercedes’ management for celebrations at the team’s main base in Brackley and engine facility in Brixworth.
“Where we normally run in our best mode I got to run in that a lot longer, basically,” he told Sky Sports F1 in Abu Dhabi.
“What it really showed is what HPP [Mercedes High Performance Powertrains] have done with our power unit. I was just visiting the guys just recently to say thank you to them.
“To have the consistency and reliability we’ve had this year has enabled us to be where we are. It’s been the outlier of us alongside Ferrari, for example, and I’m massively grateful for that.”
Race retirements in F1 2017 MOST Fernando Alonso 10 Max Verstappen 7 Carlos Sainz 7 Nico Hulkenberg 7 Marcus Ericsson 7 FEWEST Lewis Hamilton 0 Valtteri Bottas 1 Esteban Ocon 1 Sebastian Vettel 2 Sergio Perez 2 Felipe Massa 2
Lewis wants race-winning sign off
Hamilton himself has shown few signs of fallibility on track during his fourth title-winning year but accepted fault for the crash in qualifying in Brazil two weeks ago which effectively cost him a shot at victory.
Fourth at Interlagos came two weeks after a ninth place in Mexico after contact with Sebastian Vettel on the first lap, although it did not stop him clinching the world crown.
But neither Hamilton nor Mercedes have gone more than two races without a win all season and the Englishman is determined to sign off from 2017 with a 10th victory of the year for him and 12th for the team.
“We could have won the last race fairly easily and it was solely my fault that we didn’t do so,” he said.
Natalie Pinkham is joined by Sky F1's Marc Priestley and F1 Author and journalist Mark Hughes to preview the Abu Dhabi GP.
“The plan this weekend is to go back to our old performance hopefully, Austin kind of thing where we are solid weekend, that’s our goal this weekend.
“To make sure we start on the right foot and continue all through practice. It’s a lot easier said than done, but not impossible. The goal is to try and finish the season on a high.
“It’s crazy because we won the title already but we’re still in the season, we have got one race to go. It feels like it’s been the longest year, but we do want to make sure we end it the right way.”
Who will come out on top in the F1 2017 season finale and take the bragging rights into the winter? Don’t miss the Abu Dhabi GP live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday – lights out for the race is at 1pm. Want to watch but not got Sky F1? Buy a NOW TV pass from £6.99!
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