Formula One: World champion Hamilton leaves the partying for later

ABU DHABI (REUTERS) - Graham Hill would doubtlessly have done it differently. Where James Hunt might have staggered dishevelled into the morning after the night before, probably clutching bottles in both hands on the way to bed, Lewis Hamilton celebrated his second Formula One title on Monday with bright eyes and a spring in his step.

A glass of watermelon juice, and a few sips of "some kind of Cognac thing", was sufficient carousing for Britain's first multiple champion since Jackie Stewart. One of only four Britons, including the late Hill, to have won the title twice, Hamilton said his achievement had yet to sink in.

"I feel fresh, I only had one drink last night, which is more than good enough for me," the Mercedes driver told a breakfast news conference. "I don't drink Champagne. I had a watermelon juice at dinner, which is my favourite. Then when I was at the party there was some kind of Cognac thing ... but it didn't taste very nice. So I had a couple of sips and that was it. I knew I had to be up early as well."

If the early hour was not greeted with universal delight, there were no complaints from the man of the moment.

"It's definitely an incredible feeling to wake up this morning feeling fresh in my surroundings and with all the different people who have been involved in my career over 21 years," he enthused. "The sun is shining and I feel really blessed."

His mobile had gone crazy, the texts and emails flooding in, and he promised to answer them all. The first champion for a Mercedes works team since Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio in 1955, Hamilton said he spent the evening with family, just reminiscing about the journey they had been on. Hamilton, winner of 11 races this season, recalled his early karting days, sitting by a gas heater drinking chicken soup from a flask, and the sacrifices his father had made.

"Then I popped out to the party, and (Mercedes motorsport head) Toto (Wolff) was all over the place at that point," laughed Hamilton, Wolff sitting alongside with a pained expression.

Beaten Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg had tweeted after the race that "now it's time to fight for the party world championship". The German, elsewhere on Monday, seemed to have won the battle. Hamilton was happy to let that one go at least.