Hamilton motivated by death of McLaren doctor

Abu Dhabi (AFP) –


Lewis Hamilton is doubly determined to win Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix title-showdown after the death of close friend Aki Hintsa.

The defending three-time world champion told reporters on Thursday that he felt he wanted to win in memory of the McLaren doctor and fitness expert who died last week, of cancer, at the age of 58.

"I have that fighting spirit in my heart now from the last races I've done,” said Hamilton. “But I come here with almost double the power now -- and I feel I want to win this race more so for him.

“We were texting every single race through his battle and particularly the last race, on Sunday… So coming here this weekend, whilst it's an emotional time, I'm here to try and do him proud."

Hamilton hopes to win Sunday’s race, with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg failing to finish on the podium, to claim his fourth world title.

The Briton is 12 points behind the German in the championship with just one race remaining after his run of three consecutive wins including the Brazilian Grand Prix.

He said that he had flown directly from Sao Paulo to be with Hintsa in Switzerland.

"I was very, very fortunate to have been able to be there with him and his family in the last days and actually get to see him on the last day,” said Hamilton.

He added that the Finn was important to him also for helping him gain his debut with McLaren in 2007.

"He was very instrumental in me getting that seat at McLaren,” he explained.

"He'd built a really strong relationship with Ron (former team chief, Dennis) and Ron was minded to say that if Aki says you're ready then I believe you're ready.”

The Englishman, who is seeking his 10th win of the season, added that he was philosophical about the outcome of the race.

"If it doesn't go the way I want…well -- the championship generally hasn't gone the way I'd hoped up until now. Either way, I will take all the positives I can into next season.”