Lewis Hamilton mentioned he was “completely satisfied to be alive” after recovering from coronavirus to complete the Components 1 season with a 3rd place.
The world champion missed the penultimate race in Bahrain per week in the past after contracting Covid-19 however recovered in time to race in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton mentioned after the race: “I’m destroyed. I don’t really feel good.
“However I am completely satisfied and grateful I’m alive. I stay to battle one other day and I nonetheless managed to complete with a podium.”
The 35-year-old Mercedes driver examined constructive for Covid-19 a day after successful the Bahrain Grand Prix final month, was pressured to skip the Sakhir GP on the identical observe per week later, and spent 10 days in isolation earlier than a adverse check on Wednesday freed him to journey to Abu Dhabi.
“Covid isn’t any joke,” he mentioned. “I by no means thought it was. I knew at some stage if I bought it it will be powerful as a result of there are folks on the market dropping their lives. So I knew it was severe.
“I at all times discover it very unusual to see world leaders laughing it off like it’s nothing.
“To have the ability to come again right here this weekend, I knew I would not bodily be the place I’ve been the remainder of the season however I made it. The place there’s a will, there’s a method.”
Though he admitted to not feeling properly, Hamilton mentioned he was decided to return for Abu Dhabi so long as he examined adverse in time.
“It might have been a protracted hole between Bahrain [race] one and race one [next year],” Hamilton mentioned, “so it was necessary for me to get again and simply get again to the continuity and end the 12 months sturdy with the crew.”
Pink Bull’s Max Verstappen gained the season finale, with Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas in second place.
‘One of many hardest years’
Hamilton has turn into essentially the most profitable driver in Components 1 historical past this 12 months, breaking Michael Schumacher’s all-time win report and equalling the German’s achievements of seven titles.
However he mentioned it had been a troublesome 12 months on account of the restrictions imposed by coronavirus.
The season was initially suspended in March and F1 arrange a system of protocols that has stored folks aside as a lot as doable to begin it up once more.
And the drivers have needed to isolate themselves as a lot as doable in an effort to minimise the dangers of catching the virus and derailing their seasons.
Hamilton mentioned: “This 12 months has been one of many hardest years, if not the toughest, as a result of we’ve all handled isolation.
“We have now not been round folks; there was a terrific lack of life. Life isn’t regular.
“I’m grateful we bought to race and these races can take rather a lot out of you, so for me undoubtedly it’s a nice achievement for F1 to have gotten us again racing.
“Thank God for the wellbeing and well being of everybody right here, the game has managed to get safely via the 12 months.”
Contract talks imminent
Hamilton nonetheless has not bought a contract for subsequent season. He and crew boss Toto Wolff agreed to delay talks till he had clinched the championship, to keep away from any distractions or well being dangers, however Hamilton’s sickness meant they needed to be delayed once more.
Hamilton mentioned: “Hopefully over the subsequent couple of weeks. We might like to get it completed earlier than Christmas.
“I plan to be right here subsequent 12 months. I wish to be right here subsequent 12 months. Us as a crew have extra to do collectively, extra to attain, each within the sport however much more outdoors the game, I believe. I hope we are able to start this week discussions and hopefully get it tied up earlier than Christmas.”
Wolff mentioned: “That is gonna occur. There isn’t any cause it should not occur. We could have this dialog.
“The virus delayed us by one other 10 days, two weeks after which we’ve to take a seat down perhaps just about, perhaps stay.”