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Hamilton: Winning in style the only focus

26 Oct 2017

Lewis Hamilton enters the Mexican Grand Prix weekend on the brink of a historic fourth world championship crown. But while history may well beckon - no Briton has ever claimed four titles - Hamilton is refusing to get carried away or play it safe. In fact, celebrating from atop the podium is the only ambition...

Q: Lewis, it's been another hard-fought championship fight - but now you have it in your hands. How does that feel? Is it better to be the hunted or the hunter?

Lewis Hamilton: To be honest I have not really thought much about it. I have just been enjoying the moment of the last race! It felt great after winning in Austin - it was a great response there! Now I am really only focused to repeat the same again. I enjoyed last weekend so much. I enjoyed racing so much – and that is what I am looking forward to this weekend. I don't waste too much time on thinking that we could win it this weekend. It would be good - but then lots of things can come into it so if you build anticipation you build expectation, you can easily be disappointed. What I can tell you is that I plan to drive as well as I did last week.

Q: How much would you rate the 'Valtteri factor'? Him helping the team to win the constructors' title, him taking wins away from Sebastian (Vettel) - and him as a feel good factor in the team?

LH: Well, regardless of who was the second driver I would have performed the way I did – but yes, it is true that Valterri has brought in a new positive energy into the team. The team has never felt better and the team has never been happier – and that is a reflection of him being part of that! And of course he has been a great team player when he has been needed. And yes, he has been taking points from the other drivers. We have won together the constructors' championship – which is huge – and he contributed to that massively! This win is equally as much his as it is the team's and mine.

Q: When you look back to Abu Dhabi last year, and compare to the state you are in now, what has changed?

LH: If you can put a season onto your terms, having been swimming upstream for quite a while during it, that's pretty cool. I might still be swimming upstream – but now I'm fitter and stronger, mentally and overall. I think I have performed better than ever, particularly in the second half of the season. Which is usually the case with me: the second half of the season is many times my strongest, and this year it has been my strongest ever. But don't get me wrong: I have enjoyed the battle the whole way through! At the beginning always fighting with Sebastian, and then seeing him pull away... but I was confident that at some stage we would close the gap. And then it flipped over – and then I was keen not to let it switch again!

Q: For half the season you were under pressure and needing wins to make that turnaround happen - and now Sebastian has all the pressure. Does it change your approach, knowing you can clinch the title by finishing fifth or higher?

LH: I want to win the right way! I thought about that, yes. But to tell the truth I have no desire to finish fifth to win the world championship. When it is true that you are only as good as your last race, I want to show every single race what I am capable of. So the dream is to stand at the top spot of the podium this weekend – having won the championship! That would be a very proud moment.

Q: How special is it to fight Ferrari? It is not the first time that you've been in a title battle with them...

LH: I remember when I sat with Toto doing my contract a couple of years ago I said: You are going to need me! At some stage we are going to fight Ferrari – and I will make sure that we will win! And every time after a race, if I've beaten them, I'll say to Toto: I told you! (Laughs)

Q: How competitive will Ferrari be this weekend? What's your guess?

LH: It will be a tougher weekend for us – that is my impression without having done any track time. But then the last weekend we had not anticipated being as strong as we actually were, so let's see. This is definitely a tougher course. The high altitude, plus the cars being faster this year, could play a role but I also expect this weekend to be more fun than it has been in the past with the lower donwforce. The car should be three seconds faster and that should make for a brilliant race. 

Q: And finally... with a fourth title on the cards, who is with you to celebrate this weekend?

LH: My mum has been travelling with me for two weeks. My dad and my stepmother might fly in – and probably my brother as well. So there would be enough of an entourage to cover the celebrations!