Lewis Hamilton emotional after final qualifying lap in Mercedes W09

ABU DHABI — After taking his 11th pole position of the year on Sunday evening in Abu Dhabi, Lewis Hamilton said he feels a greater affinity with his 2018 car than any other Formula One car he has driven in his career.

Hamilton’s pole lap in Abu Dhabi was another crowning glory in a 2018 season that has seen him become a five-time world champion and the most successful driver on the current grid. As well as 11 pole positions in 21 races this year, he has secured 52 in the last 100 grands prix and says it was an emotional feeling stepping out of his Mercedes W09 for the final time.

“It was quite an emotional qualifying session for me because this is the last time I am going to be qualifying in this car,” he said. “I know you guys watch it but the emotional rollercoaster that I’ve gone through with this car — I’m probably the closest with this car than I have ever been with any cars in terms of emotional attachment.

“It has not been the easiest, it has been a struggle at times with her but it has been a real privilege to work with her this year. I am just so grateful for the team and everyone to put it together. I have to thank my guys, my mechanics for what they’ve done for me for the last three years. Their diligence, the guys back at the factory, I am really so grateful to everyone.

“Today was so much fun to be able to go out there and express myself and push the car the way you want.”.

Asked if he would get to keep the car at the end of the year, Hamilton added: “It is confidential, I’d have to kill you if I told you! I am just happy as I think this car will be in the history museum at Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart on the road of evolution where they have all the greats from the past.

“I’ll get to see this car whenever I want in Germany. I haven’t got enough space for this car in my house anyway, it wouldn’t fit in my apartment!”