Lewis Hamilton: 2018 F1 title fight has been 'toughest battle'

Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton labelled 2018 as his and Mercedes “toughest battle” in the wake of sealing the title at the Mexican Grand Prix.

Hamilton and Mercedes fought with Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel through the first half of the season as the pendulum swung between the respective parties.

Vettel led the way after July’s British Grand Prix, and was only 14 points behind after winning in Belgium, but Hamilton embarked on a spree of success that left him on the brink of the title.

Mexican Grand Prix: Race Report | Championship Standings | Hamilton Feature

Hamilton duly put the title out of Vettel’s reach on Sunday in Mexico by finishing fourth, while Vettel missed out on the win he needed to stand the slimmest chance of prolonging the battle.

“Through the year there was a lot of testing times for us,” said Hamilton.

“Even on weekends where we didn’t have the package and then came away with that belief within the team that we could come away with something good, we’d come away with wins even though we weren’t the quickest.

“It took some special laps, some special moments within the car, I could re-live those moments all the time. Some of those experiences this year were really magical.

“I truly believed that we could win this championship but it has been the toughest battle we’ve had collectively as a team.

“There’s so much work that goes on in the background, these guys in the garage have just been flawless every weekend with the pit stops, with the decision making, strategy, and set-up.

“That’s been key ultimately for me, I feel like I can drive anything and take the car to places that nobody else can, but to do that you have to get the car in the right place.

“So you have to work with the team to help unleash what’s great within them so you can unleash the greatness within yourself.”

Hamilton nonetheless admitted to feeling “conflicted” at clinching the title on a weekend in which Mercedes struggled for pace.

Hamilton vowed to continue pushing through the final two events of the season in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, as Mercedes searches for its fifth straight Constructors’ crown.

“I had some of the best races of my career, and that’s why I’m sitting here,” said Hamilton on 2018/

“It doesn’t even register at the moment being number five, getting my first was amazing, the third was incredible.

“Right now it’s very humbling as well, I’m quite conflicted emotionally, and this tough race I wanted to win, I had great start, it went from good to bad.

“I’m still fourth, not a bad finish, what we needed [to clinch the title], but we’ve still got a team championship to win.

“Today we lost some points to Ferrari, I wanted to deliver for the team, we’ve still got two races to win.”

See also: Feature - Champion Hamilton proves his greatness