RACE DEBRIEF

    Lewis Hamilton says 2020 has been one of the most difficult years of his Formula 1 career as he – and the wider world – has had to cope with the coronavirus pandemic and its far-reaching effects.

    Hamilton, who tested positive for Covid-19 after the Bahrain Grand Prix and missed the Sakhir GP, returned for the season finale in Abu Dhabi but remarked afterwards that he was “blown” with fatigue. Having finished third in that race, Hamilton was also asked if this 17-race season was the most difficult of his career.

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    He replied: “I think it’s almost impossible to say which one is harder than the other because every year you face something new and something different.

    “I think this year, for me personally, I would say it’s been one of the hardest years, if not the hardest year because, you know, we’ve all dealt with isolation; we’ve not been around people.

    Lewis Hamilton before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: 'I felt like I'd spent a lot of time away from the car'

    “There’s been a great loss of life. Life is not normal,” he added.

    Hamilton may have only competed in 16 Grands Prix in 2020 but won the championship by his biggest margin yet – 124 points over team mate Valtteri Bottas – and won 11 races, took 14 podiums and 10 pole positions this season.

    And he expressed his gratitude that there was a 17-race calendar in 2020, even after the pandemic hit.

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    Hamilton wrapped up a record-equalling seventh title this year

    “I’m grateful that we got to race and it’s been… these races can take a lot out of you and I think, yeah, for me definitely, I think it’s a great achievement for Formula 1 to have got us back racing,” he said.

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    “Thank God for the health and wellbeing of everyone here in this sport that’s managed to get safely through the year,” he concluded.

    The Mercedes driver is out of contract at the end of this year and hasn’t yet signed a new deal with the seven-time Constructors’ Championship-winning squad, but hopes to get things wrapped up by Christmas.