Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hamilton and Button pay champ Vettel fulsome tribute

ABU DHABI: A smiling Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button hugged new drivers’ world champion Sebastian Vettel and supplied a neat sense of historical continuity on the victors’ podium following a memorable Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The 2008 and 2009 champions con­­gratulated their 2010 successor with natural warmth and enjoyed their own success in securing second place for McLaren in the constructors’ world championship behind Vettel’s Red Bull team.
Vettel, 23, also clearly revelled in the moment and the German returned the congratulations of the two Englishmen with respectful tributes to their achievements, particularly Hamilton whose record as the youngest championship winner he had taken from him by winning Sunday’s stirring 55-lap race.
Hamilton was obviously happy to see his record passing on to a worthy racing successor and satisfied that he and Button had done all they could in the final race of a rollercoaster year.
“It has not been the most spectacular season for us, but huge congratulations to Red Bull and Seb... He did a fantastic job this season,” he said.
Having struggled to be competitive in recent races, McLaren had improved their pace for the Abu Dhabi race at the Yas Marina Circuit where Hamilton and Button completed their first season as team-mates together on the podium.
Hamilton added: “For us it was a great end of season result. This year, me and Jenson pushed hard. Next year will be a better year.
“I’m looking forward to next year. I’m hoping our car will be even better and that we can really fight with these (Red Bull) guys.”
Hamilton mounted a strong challenge to Vettel in the opening part of the race, but struggled to pass Pole Robert Kubica of Renault after his pit stop. He could not pass him until Kubica pitted.
Button warned Vettel of the media pressures that lay ahead and jokingly suggested it would be a good idea to “have an early night” as he confessed to doing when he won the title in 2009. “Or maybe not,” he added with a grin. — AFP

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