Hamilton ready to put the past behind him after Abu Dhabi win

BRITAIN’S Lewis Hamilton hailed yesterday’s victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as one of the finest performances of his career.

The McLaren driver profited from a puncture suffered by world champion Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap – which put paid to the German’s hopes of equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of 13 wins in a single season – to finish ahead of Spain’s Fernando Alonso and team-mate Jenson Button.

The 26-year-old has endured a turbulent season on the track, clashing on several occasions with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, while off it he has had to cope with the emotional strain of breaking up with his pop star girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger.

But after turning in such a commanding performance at the Yas Marina circuit, the 2008 world champion sensed the most difficult period of his career was finally drawing to a close.

“I feel fantastic,” Hamilton said. “It was one of my best races. To hold off one of the best drivers in the world is very tough to do. We’ve a great race in Brazil coming up, so I just need to try and keep the momentum.”

Hamilton is up to fifth in the Drivers’ Championship with just one race of the season remaining at Interlagos.