After his best-ever season in F1, Lewis Hamilton is excited to take on the sport’s rising stars in future seasons as the Brit wrapped 2019 with a Grand Slam in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
At 34, Hamilton is the second oldest driver on the grid after 40-year-old Kimi Raikkonen, but the Mercedes driver only seems to get better with age, scoring 413 points and winning 11 races this campaign – his best-ever tally.
Hamilton finished off his title-winning season by completing a ‘Grand Slam’ in Abu Dhabi: he was on pole position, set the fastest lap of the race and led every single lap at the Yas Marina Circuit.
The Mercedes star shared the podium with Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, two drivers who are widely regarded as future champions at 22 years of age.
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“I feel fresh and ready to keep going – I wish I could keep going!” Hamilton, who turns 35 in January, told Sky Sports F1.
“There’s a lot of youngsters coming through and, if you look at the grid, from second to seventh or eighth was all super youngsters.”
Verstappen and Leclerc combined for five wins this season, with the latter grabbing seven pole positions in the process – more than any other driver.
“These guys have been doing a phenomenal job and I feel privileged to be in the period of time that they are here and looking forward to more close battles with us in the future. I hope it gets close for us next year.”
“So really proud to be in a period of time where there are such great young people coming through,” Hamilton continued.
Both youngsters have proven capable of challenging and beating Hamilton when their cars allowed them to do so, but Verstappen said the Brit’s W10 was “too quick” on the day.
“Just Mercedes and Lewis were a bit too quick,” the Dutchman admitted after the dust settled at the Yas Marina Circuit, a circuit where the German works team has won the last six races.
“I hope it gets close for us next year!”Hamilton on battling Leclerc and Verstappen in 2020
“But as a whole it has been a positive season and to be P3 in the championship is a nice ending.”
Verstappen held off Leclerc in the championship to finish third behind both Mercedes cars; the best season of the eight-time Grand Prix winner’s career.
Sunday’s race was also the last Grand Prix for both Nico Hulkenberg and Robert Kubica, with both veteran failing to land a seat on the 2020 grid.
Kubica, who came back to F1 in 2019 after eight seasons of absence following a horror-crash in 2011, finished 19th, while Hulkenberg ended the race in P12.
The German was voted Driver of the Day by the fans as he leaves Formula 1 after competing in 179 Grands Prix in 10 seasons.