Flash back to the 2015 Formula 1 season. Lewis Hamilton clinched the Championship with three races remaining in the season. He subsiquently went into Championship party mode and his teammate Nico Rosberg won the last three races of the season. Rosberg carried that momentum into 2016 while Hamilton started off very slow. Rosberg won the first four races of the season and despite some turmoil and a furious charge from Hamilton the damage was done. Rosberg eventually won the Championship and promptly rode off into the sunset.
Fastforward to today and we arrive at a very similar situation. Hamilton has clinched with two races remaining only this time Hamilton says things will be different. "I think two years ago the focus was not the same at the end of the season," Hamilton said. "I generally don't like to look back and regret, so it is what it is, but I don't want to be in that position again so I am planning to keep the pressure exactly as it's been."
Hamilton will need all of his focus if he is to continue his Championship. Ferrari and Red Bull have significantly closed the gap to Mercedes. Despite their seemingly dominant finish Mercedes will not have things all their own way in 2018. Ferrari will be back looking to make amends for the implosion that was their 2017 season. Red Bull may have the best chassis in F1 right now. If Renault can find a bit more horsepower then they will be a serious threat to Hamilton and his merry band of Mercedes men.
The new focus, starts this weekend in Brazil. "I think Red Bull has really stepped up their game, with Max Verstappen winning the last race, and for Ferrari this is a track that really suits them and it might not be our circuit as much as the last one, but still it should be a good race weekend. " Hamilton said. "I had such a good time racing these guys into Turn 1 last weekend and it's a shame it ended the way it did, but I'm hoping for more of that over the next two races."
Two races remain, 2017 may be decided there is still much to play out. Hamilton is saying all the correct things, but ultimately his on track performance will speak the loudest. "I've still got the two races. I've tried to stay in the zone. I'm still in the same mental frame of mind with two races to go and it feels abnormal to back off now. It seems like a better time than ever to apply even more pressure just because I can. There are two more wins available."