F1 Raceweek: Hamilton not relishing imminent Halo, Vettel wants Baku awards
The season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the last Formula One race where the cars will look good, according to Lewis Hamilton, as the sport prepares for the introduction of the 'Halo' device next year.
World champion Hamilton will be aiming to end a victorious 2017 campaign on a high at Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday, the Mercedes driver having already secured his fourth title, as well as helping the dominant German team to another constructors' crown.
Hamilton's chief rival, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, remains optimistic of mounting an improved challenge in 2018, when Fernando Alonso will be hoping McLaren's new partnership with Renault proves to be more productive than its underwhelming Honda relationship.
HAMILTON LAMENTS HALO'S AESTHETIC IMPACT
All F1 cars will be fitted with a protective 'Halo' next season, a barrier surrounding the driver's head, with the aim of minimising the potentially deadly impact of flying debris.
The device has received mixed reviews from the sport's stars, Hamilton ruing the toll it will take on the appearance of vehicles.
"It's the last race where the cars will look good," he told a news conference.
"From next year it is all downhill in terms of how it looks, but safety will go up at least. Maybe it'll start a new flipflop brand next year."
Of his title duel with Vettel, Hamilton added: "It was great to have those close battles this year with Sebastian, a four-time world champion you respect."
VETTEL WANTS TO WIN PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Hamilton gave a noncommittal response when asked if there should be a greater range of individual awards to mark the end of the season.
Vettel, though, did not miss an opportunity to make a joke at his own expense, revisiting an infamous collision and subsequent argument between the two men in Azerbaijan, where the German appeared to intentionally ram into his rival.
"I should get move of the year, personality of the year and what was the last one, fair play?," he jokingly said.
"Okay, maybe not... but those other two for Baku."
ALONSO STRUGGLES TO FIND MCLAREN-HONDA POSITIVES
The end of the 2017 campaign cannot arrive soon enough for Fernando Alonso and McLaren, who will be ending their partnership with Honda and starting to use Renault power units next year.
The British team have fallen badly off the pace set by Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull in recent years, leaving Alonso - a two-time world champion from his time with Renault - unable to demonstrate his undoubted quality behind the wheel.
Asked for one of his highlights from the final races of the McLaren-Honda partnership, the 36-year-old Spaniard said: "Erm, it is difficult to pick out one race, as the performance was never there.
"I personally had a lot of expectations for the McLaren-Honda project but we didn't achieve the results so it's now time for a change and I'm optimistic."