Hamilton preparing for four-way fight in 2018

Date published: December 14 2017

Lewis Hamilton believes as many as four teams could be in contention for the titles next season with McLaren being the new dark horse.

The Brit reckons his former team could become a threat now that they have ditched the Honda engines in favour of getting their power units supplied by Renault.

He is also expecting improvement from Ferrari and Red Bull, so he is aware that Mercedes need to start the season on the very top of their game.

“McLaren will have Renault engines, then we may see four teams fighting for the championship,” Hamilton said via BBC Sport.

“Red Bull will be quicker (than this year) and Ferrari will be fast. We can’t stand still. We have to keep moving forwards.”

Hamilton added that his mentality is the same as it always has been and is only interested in finishing first.

He said: “I have the same mindset now for next year.

“When I’m training and preparing for a new season, I firmly believe that we can be contenders for the next championship.

“It may turn out to be not possible, but you have to have that mindset.

“If you go in with expectations of finishing fifth, it’s not going to work. You’ve got to gear yourself up to win.”

Hamilton is heading for the mountains in the off-season so he can recharge the batteries ahead of his latest title defence and fancies catching up on Game of Thrones in the process.

“I go to the same place in the mountains every year,” he said. “I have my dogs, I’m in the snow, and it’s very quiet and peaceful there.

“I spend most of the day sitting by the fireplace. We go skiing, watch some movies and catch up with some TV series.

“I’ve never even seen any of Game of Thrones. My friends and especially my brother are huge fans, and I think I’m going to get into it in the winter.”

Hamilton: Vettel came under ‘extreme pressure’

Date published: December 10 2017

Lewis Hamilton felt that Sebastian Vettel’s demise in 2017 came because he was under “extreme pressure” and is “not afraid” of a potential fightback next season.

Vettel had the World Championship lead going into the summer break, but a series of events which were partly Vettel’s fault and partly the team’s fault, meant that Hamilton and Mercedes were able to land the double once again.

But Hamilton believes Vettel was tested like he never has been before and ultimately it became too much to handle.

“Seb showed more nerves this season than before,” Hamilton told Stuttgarter Nachrichten newspaper.

“None of us are superman, and everyone can fail under extreme pressure.”

“Some reached that point sooner, others later. It’s like tennis. If Federer plays against Nadal, one waits for a small weakness in the other, because half a percent is enough.”

Hamilton acknowledged that Vettel has responded well since the title slipped away and knows that his own performance has slipped, too.

But the Brit is ready to go to into battle with his fellow four-time World Champion next year.

“You saw it at the end of the season,” he added. “Suddenly I had no more pressure and was not very good. I compare this season with a 100 sprint by Usain Bolt.

“He often gets a bad start but then he comes back.

“I’m assuming that he [Vettel] recovers his strength for next year, but I’m not afraid.”

Hamilton on why he won’t reunite with Alonso

Date published: December 5 2017

Lewis Hamilton says he’ll never partner Fernando Alonso as the two work like north poles of a magnet, creating “negative energy.”

Hamilton and Alonso teamed up back in 2007 at McLaren in what turned out to be a fractious relationship.

One a rookie, the other a double World Champion, both had something prove and butted heads on and off the track.

But while many in Formula 1 would like to see the two as team-mates once again, believing it would be the strongest pairing on the grid, Hamilton says it will never happen.

Asked whether he would consider ever partnering Alonso, he told German newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung: “No. That will not happen.

“Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team boss] understands how the interpersonal dynamics of a team works.

“I would compare it to a magnet: when two north poles meet, they repel each other. You need a north and a south pole.

“Two of the same result in negative energy, as in 2007 between me and Alonso.”

Ricciardo: Hamilton kept a cooler head than Vettel

Date published: December 5 2017

Although Lewis Hamilton had one of the best cars on the grid, Daniel Ricciardo believes his 2017 title triumph was down to the fact that he “maintained a cooler head” than his rivals.

While Sebastian Vettel led the title chase for the first half of the championship, it was Hamilton who emerged victorious.

As Vettel and Ferrari imploded with crashes and reliability issues, Hamilton and Mercedes went about their work with quiet confidence.

That resulted in run of three successive wins following the summer break while his tally of 10 for the season ensured that he won the World title in Mexico with two races to spare.

“Lewis’s season – I respect that,” Ricciardo told Autosport.

“He had a great car, but I think Seb’s car was also as good and Lewis just maintained a cooler head, a better level of consistency and composure. 

“You have to respect that.

“He was always very fast and I think he drove a very good season.”

Hamilton: Hypersoft is Pirelli’s best tyre yet

Date published: December 2 2017

Having put in the laps during testing in Abu Dhabi, Lewis Hamilton has declared that Pirelli’s new hypersoft tyres is their “best” to date.

Next season Pirelli will introduce the pink-banded hypersoft tyres.

It is their softest compound ever, and was used for the fastest lap times during the two-day test.

Hamilton, who was in action on Tuesday, was impressed with the new compound and believes Pirelli are moving in the right direction.

“We’ve got a good early understanding of these 2018 Pirelli tyres,” said the Mercedes driver.

“On early impression, the new hypersoft is the best tyre that Pirelli have produced since returning to F1.

“I found that the other compounds are still a bit too hard for my liking but we’re moving in the right direction.”

Hamilton: Thoughts on retirement keep changing

Date published: November 30 2017

Lewis Hamilton could yet walk away from Formula 1 after his current Mercedes contract expires as while he wants to keep racing, he also wants to do other things.

Since Nico Rosberg quit Formula 1 just days after winning the 2016 title, Hamilton has been dogged with questions about his own retirement.

Having won a fourth World title this season, the Brit is talks with Mercedes about extending his contract beyond 2018.

However, that doesn’t mean he won’t necessary quit some time during that new deal.

“My thoughts about it change like the weather,” he told Mark Hughes’ Motor Sport Magazine. “It’s about trying to find the balance.

“I’ve currently got another year with the team and I do want to continue, but I’m at that point where there’s that nagging question: ‘If you leave you’re gonna miss it – next year, five years from now, you’ll miss it.’

“I was talking to my best friend the other day about things that I look forward to, like living in one place, getting a routine, seeing my friends and family. Each year I stay in the sport I delay those things.

“But from 40 onwards there’s so much time for it.

“My auntie died from cancer. On her last day she said: ‘I’ve worked every day with the plan of stopping one day and doing all these different things [and] then I ran out of time’.

“So I have that in the back of my mind, so I do live my life day by day and try to live it to the maximum.

“That’s what I’m fighting with – I want to keep racing but I want to do other things too. I want my cake and I want to eat it.”

Hamilton on fourth title, 2018 and more…

Monster Energy’s Eric Johnson spoke with the four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton…

2017 has been a titanic year for Lewis Hamilton of the omnipotent Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team.

For not only did the former British Formula Renault, Formula 3 Euroseries and GP2 champion win his fourth Formula 1 World Championship, in doing so, he put his surname alongside those of the sport’s absolute elite, joining Fangio, Schumacher, Prost and Vettel as the only drivers to do such a thing.

On the eve of the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the opulent Yas Marina Circuit, the Silver Arrows driver reflected on a season where he had to fight as hard as he ever has to keep the No. 44 W08 out front and pulling away from the contenders and pretenders , and in doing so, captured a championship he simply called, “special.”

Lewis, what made this title, your fourth F1 World Championship, special and unique in comparison to the other three you have amassed?

Well, I mean they’re all unique in their own way. I think this year with actually fighting Ferrari and fighting a four-time World Champion [Sebastian Vettel] makes it pretty special. It was so nice to win.

There have been several mentions in the media where Toto Wolff – as well as virtually the entire the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team have cited 2017 as the best and most focused that they have ever seen you. True?

Uhm… I don’t remember the other years, so. I’ve only remember what’s happened the last few weeks. But I would definitely say that this has been one of the most focused years of my career, yeah.

Four F1 titles in this day and age almost seem surreal. Does it ever strike you that way?

It is surreal. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. It is very, very surreal. I guess it doesn’t really register at the moment. I don’t know whether if it’s going to, or if it will or not, but… I was just saying to my friend, “Can you believe I’m four-time World Champion?” We were both taken back a bit when we thought about it.

How important are the career records and numbers to you? To some racers throughout history, they were very important. To others, maybe not so important. What’s your take on them?

Yeah, I’ve never really focused on the numbers or the records. Every now and then I’ll get a record that I wasn’t aware of it at the time people will talk about it. I think it’s kind of neat sometimes when people mention it. It’s not driving me, though. I just love driving. I just go out every day and if I’m there on a record, then cool. If not, I could really care less if I get it or not.

All that withstanding, is there one particular record or number that you feel you must have?

I don’t think a record defines who you are or how good you are. Records are there to be broken. But even if I just had to stop at the end of this year and I didn’t get a record, it doesn’t mean at that time that you are not the greatest. To think you have to drive for 20 years to be the greatest is just a misconception.

By most accounts, and as a driver and as a person, Valtteri Bottas has been a very good teammate for both you and the entire Mercedes-Benz team. Thoughts?

He’s been a great teammate and a good influence on the team. He’s really positive and has a great work ethic and he’s a really wonderful person; he really has a good heart. We think a lot alike in the sense if you don’t do a good enough job, you just have to do a better job. There are not any games that you try and play to apply pressure in a different way or anything like that.

How will you motivate yourself for 2018?

I haven’t thought about it yet so I have no idea.

What drivers and which teams will threaten you, Bottas and the dominance displayed by Mercedes-Benz during the past four years?

I think Red Bull will probably step up their game next year and they really have in the second half of this season. Ferrari, next year, are going to be there.

What are your favorite races and venues on the Formula 1 world tour and why?

There are a few. Monaco is always awesome. Monaco, Montreal and Austin. There are a lot of them, but those are the ones that I really enjoy.

Your brother Nicolas was on hand in Texas to support you. Cool to have your brother around at the races with you?

Yeah, it’s family, man. It’s a good time with family being there to support you, especially before you’ve had any real success. It’s just great to have my brother around me, you know?

What do you plan to do during your forthcoming off-season?

Currently, I don’t have any vacation booked up until the 23rd of December. I’ll be back at work and after this Abu Dhabi race, I’ll start training for next season already.

There are millions and millions of Lewis Hamilton fans around the world. Maybe some of that comes from the fact that you are a globetrotting F1 World Champion, but maybe a lot of the support you receive also comes from the fans because you come off as a racer who sincerely and genuinely appears to love what you do. What do you think?

Well, I mean I don’t know if it’s that I love the globetrotting thing. To be really honest, I look forward to the day that I don’t have to get on airplanes. To be honest, the best part of the year is at the end of the year in December when I go home for a few weeks. That’s my favorite period of the year. The globetrotting thing, or whatever you want to say, the traveling is a requirement and a necessity for me at the moment. In the world that we live in today, it’s very difficult to do something different because everything has already been done. To stand out and to do something different and to do something unique and outside of the box is not easy. Unfortunately or fortunately, with the way my world is currently, I travel to lots of different locations. As a positive, I was just in Los Angeles to visit with friends and then I traveled out to New York. I do enjoy getting to go to different places and to get a taste of different cultures and different places, which is cool. But, yeah, as far as the traveling, I wouldn’t say I love it because, naturally, you just end up tired all the time and you miss your friends. There is a balance that you have to try and strike, which I currently don’t have (laughter).

What are your three favorite moves of all-time?
Favorite movies? Cool Runnings, Coming to America and Trading Places.

Lastly, what other forms of motorsport do you admire?
Generally, just MotoGP.