The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday, the last race of the 2014 Formula 1 season, was the deciding factor in the nail-biting race for the World Drivers' Championship between Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. However, the battle for the title was over in a fraction of a second at Turn 1 of the Yas Marina circuit.
Rosberg had the pole after he bettered Hamilton's time in the qualifying, and the German had to win the race and also hope that his teammate, who was second on the grid, would finish the race only at third place or below. Hamilton, on the other hand, just needed to finish second to clinch the title.
However, the exciting and much-awaited 55-lap final-day showdown for the title, which would decide who comes out on top after eight months of racing, took only the first corner to settle.
Hamilton took only a fifth of a second to react to the final go light as the Brit flew off the starting line to pass Rosberg well before Turn 1. And that was game over as the 29-year-old cruised to victory from thereon to win his second world championship. Rosberg, to be fair, did try to mount a challenge though it was too late but that also fell apart in a mix of technical issues.
Hamilton has now hailed his incredible start to the Abu Dhabi GP as the best ever start in his career. He also expressed his delight that the team's preparations on how to approach the race paid off.
"Yeah! That's my guy down here, giving me a good start," said the Mercedes driver, pointing to his car's engineer. "It was like a rocket! It was probably the best start I ever had. I knew from then on, straightaway, that I was in the lead.
"Obviously going into the race I had a couple of different options of how to approach the race. If I was behind then we'd see how it goes until the first stop but if I was ahead I knew I had to really, really race.
"The car was fantastic, we really got it spot on for the race. Obviously qualifying wasn't perfect but we got it ready for the race and that's what's most important."
When asked how much such a start owed to the car and technical team, while how big a part did the driver play, Hamilton praised the car and played down his role.
"The car... very little is the athlete. Obviously we have a sequence that we have to go through and we have to perform at the right time, making sure that you prepare the clutch throughout the weekend, prepare your tyres when you get to your spot. I worked very closely with the engineer who works with my clutch.
"When the start goes, when you do the formation lap, you get a feel for how good the clutch is at that point. You have to guide them or give them feedback whether you need more torque or more slip. Anyways, we hit is spot on. The second part, when you let out the second part and you feed the throttle, that's when the driver comes in. But it was for sure... the best start I've ever had. Absolutely phenomenal."
The 2014 Formula 1 crown is Hamilton's second world championship, and his first since 2008 when he won his maiden title with McLaren. And the Brit stressed that this year's championship win feels much more significant than his first title, labelling it as "the greatest moment" of his life.
"This is the greatest moment of my life. It feels surreal. It is like an out-of-body experience. I feel it's not really happening. My first title in 2008 was special but the feeling I have now is way, way past that."