'Blown' Hamilton glad when the race was over in Abu Dhabi

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An exhausted Lewis Hamilton was glad to reach the chequered flag as he claimed third at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Returning to the grid for the Formula 1 finale, after missing the last race in Bahrain due to Covid-19, the world champion admitted he was far from 100% due to the lingering effects of the virus after qualifying on Saturday.

And at the end of 55 laps in the race, Hamilton's lack of energy was clear as he struggled to barely spray the champagne on the podium.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been so blown,” Hamilton told Sky Sports' Martin Brundle in Parc Ferme. “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 and, yeah, 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."

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Informed it was his 165th career podium, Hamilton played down the significance of his and Mercedes' subdued performance.

“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,” he added.

“It’s obviously not 100%, 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. Big, big thank you to the team for their continued support. It’s still a fantastic result to get two podium finishes for us.”

Throughout the race, Hamilton was stuck at two-to-three seconds behind teammate Valtteri Bottas, while Alex Albon also appeared to hit a buffer after getting to within two seconds of the Mercedes in the closing laps.


And the Briton believes that highlights the need for the new cars set to be introduced in 2022.

“The Red Bulls I think this weekend were just too far out of reach for us,” Hamilton explained. "We just couldn’t hold onto the pace they had.

“Fantastic job to see Alex right up there with us, so we were having a two-team battle, which I think is what the sport needs.

“I hope and pray in 2022 the cars are better to follow because I don’t know if it was a boring race to watch, but as soon as you get to within three seconds of someone, you’re just sliding around and in turbulence all the time.

“So, I really hope that what Ross [Brawn, F1 managing director of motorsports] has proposed really makes the difference. We just need good tyres.”