If the season-closing race in Abu Dhabi is merely a procession of points this weekend, it marks a significant mental and physical milestone for Pole Robert Kubica.
With his British rival in sixth, Hamilton passed Timo Glock on the final turns of the race into fifth place.
But, for once, the Mercedes man has opted not to deflect and has opened up about what he thinks of this continued negativity, giving a simple yet eloquent response to his so called 'haters'.
Mercedes were expected to dominate at the majestic Sa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, but Vettel and Ferrari matched him for speed in a tense race in which Hamilton's innate racer's cunning would play a crucial role.
Barring a couple of skirmishes further down the field, and a half-hearted 'I could do it if I really wanted to' reminder from Lewis Hamilton on his Mercedes teammate, the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will go down as one of the worst 'races' in living memory.
Still, there's no doubt that life for Wolff and the Mercedes camp is much better when things are running smoothly with Hamilton, who secured his fourth World Championship title with two races to spare, earlier this month.
The opening race of 2018 in Melbourne is a 17-week European winter away on March 28, and will herald a new era with halo cockpit protection devices for the first time.
"I couldn't be happier to end the season like this". Kubica lost a lot of blood in the accident and was thought to be close to death.
A rather self-aggrandising assertion, recycled from a Tywin Lannister quote in Game of Thrones that goes - 'A lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of sheep'.
Raikkonen was now third, and the only other driver below 1:39, albeit barely with his time of 1:38.999. Sebastian Vettel at +19.330s.
Hamilton said: "A big, big congratulations to Valtteri".
By the time Hulkenberg took the penalty at his pitstop, he had comfortably built enough of an advantage to negate it.
Read on for the latest updates from Abu Dhabi, as all involved seek to finish off the campaign with a flourish. Then Bottas had a lurid slide out of the last corner but managed to keep the car off the wall.
Carlos Sainz Jr. failed to make it through to Q3 after a slow final effort due to a suspected power unit issue, taking 12th, while Kevin Magnussen and Lance Stroll filled out the Q2 dropzone in 14th and 15th.
Liberty Media revealed the simpler design that replaces the iconic logo the sport has been identified with for more than 20 years, with F1 chiefs arguing the previous design was not suited for use with digital platforms or merchandise.