After the grand finale to the 2017 season in Abu Dhabi and the subsequent test session at the Yas Marina Circuit, Lewis Hamilton still had a few engagements in his diary as newly crowned world champion.
Before receiving the world championship trophy at the official FIA Awards Ceremony in Paris, he paid visits to Petronas, the title partner of the Silver Arrows in Kuala Lumpur, and to colleagues at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen.
“It’s always fascinating to see the production line,” said Lewis, who lent a hand on the assembly belt. “To actually see the robots moving, to see the men at work doing 1,000 cars a day in shifts. That number of cars doesn’t even compute. It’s insane. I had such a warm welcome when I got to the cantina. The most impressive thing was to see the employees and how hard everyone was working, how diligent everyone has to be to make these cars. The quality control is quite remarkable.”
Hamilton was pleased with his nine-win season that rewarded him with a fourth championship.
“It’s been an amazing season but by no means a perfect one,” Hamilton said. “There are always areas you can improve on. I won nine races and Valtteri (Bottas) won three, but there are 20 races, and a perfect season is when you win every single one of them. But it’s a positive thing, because it means you can always improve. It was definitely one of the strongest seasons we’ve ever had.
“The beginning of the season was a little bit up and down, but the second part of the season was very consistent. Reliability has been the best it has ever been. In terms of my performance, my starts were much better this year, and I was much more comfortable with this year’s car so that I was able to extract a lot more from it race by race.”
Hamilton plans to relax with family and friends during the holidays.
“I go to the same place in the mountains every year,” he said. “I have my dogs, I’m in the snow, and it’s very quiet and peaceful there. I spend most of the day sitting by the fireplace. We go skiing, watch some movies and catch up with some TV series. I’ve never even seen any of Game of Thrones. My friends and especially my brother are huge fans, and I think I’m going to get into it in the winter.”