From L) Ferrari’s German driver Sebastian Vettel (2nd), Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton (1st) and Red Bull’s Dutch driver Max Verstappen (3rd) celebrate on the podium after the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix. AFP

Fresh from winning the Abu Dhabi race, Lewis Hamilton says he wanted to finish the F1 2018 season in style as the best preparation for a renewed battle with Ferrari and Red Bull in 2019.

Refusing to ease off after winning his fifth world championship, Hamilton won both of the year’s final races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

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“I really wanted to finish the season strongly,” said Hamilton. “I wanted to end how l plan to start next year – that was the new psyche.”

But after a relentless Hamilton inflicted another defeat on his rivals, both Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas have admitted they need a break from F1.

Bottas, Hamilton’s team-mate at Mercedes but without a win in 2018, told Sky F1: “I want to have some time and time to think about things. Mentally it’s been a pretty tough year, l need a break.”

And Vettel, whose season was punctuated by a series of costly errors, admitted: “I think I need some time for myself. I think it has been a quite difficult and exhausting year for me. I definitely need a bit of a gap.

“Looking back I haven’t been at the top of my game.”