Hamilton: 2019 went from "heap" of car to best ever season
Lewis Hamilton says 2019 was the best season he has had in Formula 1, especially considering he started the year with a "heap" of a car.
The Briton clinched his sixth drivers' championship this season, moving him just one away from Michael Schumacher's all-time record.
But despite his Mercedes team taking control of the title battle from the first race, and reeling off eight consecutive wins at the start, Hamilton says things initially had been difficult with the W10.
"When we started this season, our car was actually a real heap to drive," he said at the FIA Prize Gala in Paris as he picked up his F1 drivers' trophy.
"It wasn't that great looking at the testing. We couldn't quite get it in the window, and it wasn't until the last day that we got it to work. And then we went to the first race and we already had some great results."
Having pushed on to claim the title, Hamilton says that in the end the campaign was the best he had experienced.
"It's been a good year," he said. "It's been the best year I would say in my whole career."
Asked by Motorsport.com what were the factors that had made 2019 the best year, Hamilton said: "I would say probably more the influences from outside. I think that's really what made the year the best.
"I think the season on a whole was as strong as the last. Qualifying wasn't as strong this year but still, you know, I was qualifying front row, top three quite often, and split the Ferraris when they all of a sudden had 30 bhp more than everyone.
"I think qualifying was still good, but it was a harder car to drive this year. So the races were just as strong as last year."
Hamilton said that off track it had also been a year of contrasts, with highs over some of his non-F1 activities, but also sadness at the loss of Niki Lauda and Anthoine Hubert.
"The races are really where the championship was won but I think also the outside I've just been happier in collaboration with the team, in terms of teamwork.
"And things like the doors that have been opened in terms of fashion. That's been well received and well accepted, and my fans have been amazing, supporting me with it.
"So being able to do those things and it not be talked about too much, because in the sense of negative, that's a distraction.
"But then also there's quite a few people that we've lost so it's been quite an emotional rollercoaster. From race one, to Monaco, to Spa, which were big, big dents in the motorsport world. And I think for everyone, they were struggling."
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