November, 13th 2011 (F1plus Team).- There is no doubt that the happiest man on the podium was Lewis Hamilton, who earned his 17th Formula 1 career victory in Abu Dhabi on Sunday night.
The triumph represents his third of the season and first since the German Grand Prix of July. The 2008 Champion hopes the result marks the start of a personal comeback but admits it remains ‘early days’.
Over recent weeks Hamilton has revealed that he has been struggling with problems in his private life and has not looked in contention for a race win since his last victory at the German Grand Prix in July.
Hamilton also said that his win in Abu Dhabi, in which he held off Fernando Alonso's Ferrari for 55 laps, was a huge boost and one of his best ever.
“It’s early days, but this is definitely a start,” the McLaren driver said after the race, in which he fended off a stiff challenge from 2007 title rival Fernando Alonso. “It’s very rare for us to be able to control a race from the front, but I did have the pace and was able to put in the (necessary) laps when Fernando was going quicker.”
For their second and final pit-stops, Alonso came in three laps later than Hamilton in a bid to seize the lead, but was unable to stretch out enough of an advantage beforehand.
“He would be closing the gap; it seemed like he would be starting stints slower than me before getting quicker at the end of them,” Hamilton explained before labelling the win as one of his best, following several difficult months personally.
“I am very, very happy with how it went - I think it was one of my best races…looking after the tyres, managing the gaps, so I am ecstatic; I can get on my flight tonight and smile.”
Hamilton dedicated the victory to mother Carmen, who had travelled to Abu Dhabi and was watching the race while celebrating her birthday from the McLaren garage.