Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton’s full focus now on title chase
LEWIS Hamilton admits a weight has been lifted from his mind now he has completed his deal to join Mercedes, and is fully focused on leaving McLaren as world champion.
Hamilton’s move to the German marque was confirmed last week with the Briton replacing seven-times champion Michael Schumacher.
Asked if he felt more relaxed having made up his mind over where he will drive next year, Hamilton said: “Absolutely. I feel fantastic. I am very, very happy and excited and grateful that I can now just focus on these next six races. I know there’s a lot of work ahead of me and I know I’m leaving a very good car behind for Sergio [Perez].”
Despite Schumacher’s second spell in F1 following his 2010 comeback being a disappointment, Hamilton is fully aware of how difficult it will be to replace a man with seven world titles and 91 race wins. “I don’t see myself as replacing Michael. I don’t think anyone can. He’s a legend in the sport,” he said. “I feel privileged to have been in F1 at the same time as him.
“I watched him winning all his world championships at home in my living room, so to have been on the track with him has been a real privilege. I hope one day I can achieve some of the things he has done.”
With his 2013 switch signed and sealed, Hamilton – 52 points adrift of leader Fernando Alonso with six races to go – has turned his attention to getting his 2012 title tilt back on track.
Ahead of Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, he added: “I love coming here. The track is one of the best tracks in the world. It is not one that I have won at before but I think we have a car to win.”
Team-mate Jenson Button will have to take a five-place grid penalty after his gearbox was found to have the same fault that curtailed Hamilton’s race in Singapore last time out.
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