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Lewis Hamilton: "It was life or death"

From Amanda Davies, CNN
updated 9:59 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
It's been a nail biting rollercoaster ride but Lewis Hamilton edges out his Mercedes teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg to win the 2014 Formula One World Championship. It's been a nail biting rollercoaster ride but Lewis Hamilton edges out his Mercedes teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg to win the 2014 Formula One World Championship.
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How Hamilton beat Rosberg
How Hamilton beat Rosberg
How Hamilton beat Rosberg
How Hamilton beat Rosberg
How Hamilton beat Rosberg
How Hamilton beat Rosberg
How Hamilton beat Rosberg
How Hamilton beat Rosberg
How Hamilton beat Rosberg
How Hamilton beat Rosberg
How Hamilton beat Rosberg
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hamilton says it's like winning the title for the first time after topping Duel in the Desert
  • Briton insists he never wanted to win the title easily and relished fighting to the last race
  • The 29-year-old admits the idea of being a multiple world champion will take time
  • It equals the record of six years for the longest wait between a first and second world title

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(CNN) -- It is six years since Lewis Hamilton was first crowned world champion but the Briton is treating Sunday's title win in Abu Dhabi as though it was his maiden success all over again.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was billed as the "Duel in the Desert" as the battle between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg for the 2014 drivers' championship went down to the wire.

Instead, it proved a solo march to glory.

"Winning the first world championship was something very, very special, it was obviously my dream as a kid and it was my dream to get this championship, it feels like it was the first time," Hamilton told CNN.

"Maybe because it has been those six years it does feel like it is the first time and you know I am going to enjoy it, I'm going to embrace it with my family and go to the factory and see the guys and really enjoy it."

The six-year gap between Hamilton's twin triumphs equals Graham Hill's previous record wait for a second drivers' title following his first victorious season in 1962.

Hamilton wins Formula One world title
Duel in the Desert
'Abu Double' title showdown

Hamilton is no stranger to championship deciders having been in title contention at the final race of his rookie season in 2007 only to be pipped by Kimi Raikkonen.

The Briton went one better the following year, edging out Felipe Massa on the final lap of the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

In 2010, he arrived in Abu Dhabi with a mathematical chance of winning the world title but came up short.

In contrast, his return to the Yas Marina Circuit at the weekend saw Rosberg finish outside of the points after his car suffered a significantly loss of power.

The German's frustrating race ensured a comfortable 64-point winning margin for Hamilton as a result of the double points on offer at the final race.

"Obviously I have only had it once with this kind of championship but growing up it takes time [to sink in] because it's a long season, it's not just a one-off race and there's a lot of emotions and a lot of focus that has gone on through the years," said Hamilton, who joins an elite band of 15 other multiple champions.

"So I think the initial feeling is of relief, of course massively proud of the group of people that I have been working with and of course very much conscious of what we've achieved and what I've achieved. But I think the whole 'two-time champion' is going to take some time to kick in."

The margin of his victory in the points standings is not a complete reflection of a title race that ebbed and flowed between the formerly close friends, whose relationship fractured during the course of an occasionally tense season.

In the end, Hamilton proved victorious by virtue of his 11 grands prix victories to Rosberg's five, with the former clawing back a 29-point deficit following August's Belgian Grand Prix to win six of the last seven races.

Hamilton relished the battle.

"It makes no difference who are you competing with, you want to beat the guy with whoever you're fighting for the championship with," he said reflecting the morning after the night before.

"Obviously, you always want to beat your teammate because he's in the same car with the same opportunities and the same opportunities so perhaps it's even sweeter when you do beat your teammate because obviously people can see the difference between you.

"I had a great competitor throughout the year, I wouldn't want it any other way, I wouldn't want it easy that's for sure and I definitely don't feel I ever had it that way."

Rosberg was quick to overcome his own personal disappointment and congratulate his teammate ahead of the podium presentation, although Hamilton admitted he had not seen him again bar a brief passing in the Mercedes team garage.

Hamilton likened their championship fight to "life or death, we both wanted it more than anything we'd ever desired in our life."

Mercedes, with the same driver line-up in 2015, look set to dominate the sport once more next season, leaving Hamilton and Rosberg as that likely title protagonists.

Asked how long it would take for title number three after enduring such a long wait for his second title success, Hamilton added: "Oh geez, I have no idea. I'm just going to enjoy this one."

Read: How Hamilton won the title

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