F1: Hamilton still racing for wins despite title
By Chris Medland | RACER magazine and RACER.com F1 correspondent
Lewis Hamilton says he has held off thinking about his drivers’ championship victory in order to focus on performing at a high level for the final races.
A run of four straight victories in Italy, Singapore, Russia and Japan set up Hamilton’s fifth drivers’ title, which he duly confirmed at the last round in Mexico. On the two previous occasions he has won the title early — in 2015 and 2017 — Hamilton has failed to win another race that season and he says he has been trying to ensure nothing about his approach changes this weekend at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
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“Honestly, I don’t feel any different coming here this weekend,” Hamilton said. “I still want to win the race, the pressure is still the same and generally I have performed the best under pressure, so maybe I have subconsciously allowed the pressure to remain the same.
“I’ve not won here in Brazil for a long time, so I want to win here. The last two races have been pretty shocking compared to our standards, and I don’t know how this next race is going to go. But we will do everything to try to make sure that we win.
“I’ve not been thinking of Seb [Vettel], I’ve not been thinking of the championship, not been thinking of my side and winning the championship, I’ve just been focused on making sure that I’m still in the centered place so I can drive as well as I have during the year.”
Insisting his championship victory has not sunk in yet, Hamilton says there has been plenty of work for himself and Mercedes to do after slipping behind Ferrari in each of the last two races.
“Some of it is still a mystery but I think there are a lot of areas that we have understood. We are coming to another circuit that is quite hard on tires, Brazil is always quite tough in that area but we have not been terrible here. I think this track does work quite well with a more nimble, shorter car.
“I’m hoping this weekend we can get the car into the right place and fight the guys, and the Red Bulls and Ferraris who have seemed to come back more into shooting range. Red Bull’s dominance at the last race was impressive and I’m sure they will be quick this weekend as well, as will Ferrari.
“It is going to take everything and more – we will have to throw everything at it, including the bathroom sink.”
Mercedes will secure the constructors’ championship this weekend if one of its drivers wins the race, or it loses no more than 12 points to Ferrari in total.
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ABOUT CHRIS MEDLAND
While studying Sports Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, Chris managed to talk his way into working at the British Grand Prix in 2008 and was retained for three years before joining ESPN F1 as Assistant Editor. After three years at ESPN, a spell as F1 Editor at Crash Media Group was followed by the major task of launching F1i.com’s English-language website and running it as Editor. Present at every race since the start of 2014, he has continued building his freelance portfolio, working with international titles. As well as writing for RACER, he contributes to BBC 5Live and Sky Sports in the UK as well as working with titles in Japan and the Middle East.