Hamilton "more relaxed than ever" in Verstappen F1 title fight

Lewis Hamilton says he feels “more relaxed than I’ve ever been” in a Formula 1 title battle ahead of his showdown with Max Verstappen in the final two races.

Hamilton "more relaxed than ever" in Verstappen F1 title fight

Hamilton heads into this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix trailing Verstappen by just eight points at the top of the drivers’ championship, having cut the gap with back-to-back wins in Brazil and Qatar.

While Verstappen can mathematically be crowned world champion on Sunday in Jeddah, Hamilton and his Mercedes team are widely regarded to be the favourite for the race weekend, potentially setting up a last-race decider in Abu Dhabi.

Verstappen is currently fighting for his first F1 title, but Hamilton is chasing a record-breaking eighth championship, giving him greater experience to lean on in the championship run-in.

Hamilton acknowledged that there were some elements on the fight against Verstappen that made it feel different, but claimed he was feeling more relaxed than when he first contended for championships in F1.

“It's different in one sense because we've got two incredibly close teams,” Hamilton said. “It’s different because as a team we're fighting for uncharted territory. No-one has ever won eight titles, team or driver, so that's quite fresh and new.

“And then on the other side, I'm more relaxed than I've ever been because I've been around a long time. It's not my first.

“I remember how I was [with] my first championship, and even my second and my third, the sleepless nights and all those sorts of things. I’m [now] a lot more sure of myself and just applying myself better than ever before.

“I know I can't change anything from the past, but all I can do is prepare the best I can for what's up ahead of me, and I 100% know I have.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Hamilton trailed Verstappen by 19 points before the Brazil weekend and looked set to lose more ground after being excluded from qualifying, leaving him at the back of the grid for the sprint race.

But Hamilton fought back to finish fifth in the sprint race and went on to win the grand prix to cut Verstappen’s lead and strike back in the title battle.

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said in Qatar he believed the adversity Hamilton had faced in Brazil had brought out the seven-time world champion’s “superhero powers”

Read Also:

Asked if he felt he had reached a new level of performance in recent races, Hamilton replied: “I don’t know if I agree with it, to be honest.

“I don’t believe that I have gone to a different level. I think I’m generally at a good level just in general. Maybe I tapped into something different in Brazil that maybe I haven’t there before.

“I definitely have before in my career, because I have come back from those positions many, many times before. I like to think that I have been delivering well all year. But you are constantly learning more about everything, your surroundings, your team and how to get more out of every individual.

“I like to think that all of us have, and it has not just been me. It has been the engineers, it’s been the mechanics and I think every individual in the team has pulled a bit more.

“That is what has been needed. We always need more performance, more focus and more power and strength, and I think everyone collectively has.”

shares
comments

Related video

Verstappen: Fresh F1 engine will not bring Mercedes-type power gains
Previous article

Verstappen: Fresh F1 engine will not bring Mercedes-type power gains

Next article

The new Jeddah F1 track: Is it ready and is it any good?

The new Jeddah F1 track: Is it ready and is it any good?
Load comments
Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1 Plus

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Autosport on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022