Hamilton: Pressure is off for finale

Lewis Hamilton says he can go flat-out in this weekend's Formula 1 title decider in Abu Dhabi with no pressure on his shoulders now that his championship hopes are looking remote

Hamilton: Pressure is off for finale

The result in Brazil, where Hamilton could only finish fourth, left him 24 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso.

He therefore needs to win with Alonso failing to score, and must also hope for misfortune for Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, who are nine and 16 points ahead of him respectively.

But Hamilton reckons this could be a better situation for him than leading into the final round as he had in 2007 and '08.

"I've been in the hunt for the world championship at the final race of the season on two previous occasions, so I know all about the pressure you feel when the title is almost within touching distance," he said.

"This year, it feels a little different - although I'm still mathematically in with a shout, I'm fully aware that, being 24 points behind, I'll not only need to win the race on Sunday but see the championship leader finish outside the points. And, even then, that might not be enough. So I'm not feeling the pressure in quite the same way as I did in 2007 or 2008.

"That's not to say I'm going into the race weekend feeling any less determined or motivated: we've seen before that this championship can be unpredictable and volatile - and I think this last race of the year could be even more unpredictable than normal.

"I know from personal experience that the championship isn't over until you cross the line on the final lap - so I'll not only make sure I'm up there at the end, but pushing hard until the very end.

"It's going to be a brilliant spectacle, and a great event for Formula 1 fans around the world - I absolutely can't wait."

His team-mate Jenson Button said he was taking a similar stance into the weekend, having been ruled out of title contention in Brazil.

"Obviously, it was disappointing to be ruled out of the drivers' championship in Brazil last week, but I was very pleased with my race, which was a lot of fun, and I'm already looking forward to another good performance this weekend," said the outgoing world champion.

"Last year in Abu Dhabi, I had a similarly great result - I'd lifted the pressure of the championship from my shoulders at the previous race so I was free to race hard once again. I had a great drive, enjoyed a brilliant battle with Mark right up until the very last lap, and finished on the podium.

"I'll be hoping for another strong finish this year. Most importantly, it will be my final race with the world champion's number one on my car, for this year anyway!

"It's been a great privilege and honour to carry that throughout the entire year, and I want to make sure I give it the best possible send-off this weekend."

shares
comments
Vergne: STR test a huge opportunity

Previous article

Vergne: STR test a huge opportunity

Next article

McLaren determined to fend off Ferrari

McLaren determined to fend off Ferrari
Load comments
How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in the best-of-the-rest F1 2021 battle Plus

How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in the best-of-the-rest F1 2021 battle

Supremacy in the McLaren vs Ferrari fight over third place in the constructors’ championship has ebbed and flowed between the two teams so far in the 2021 Formula 1 season. But for several key reasons, right now it seems the advantage has swung decisively back to the Scuderia and McLaren knows it.

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1 Plus

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1

Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing was briefly one of the biggest names on the US motorsports scene, but its ambition outstripped its resources. STUART CODLING relates the story of a Formula 1 campaign cut off in its prime

Formula 1
Oct 26, 2021
The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021