Lewis Hamilton wants to avoid a repeat of the dip in form he suffered following his drivers’ championship victory in 2015 after wrapping up this year’s title.
Having won the championship with four races to spare two years ago, Hamilton was then beaten by Nico Rosberg in all four of the final rounds, a run that then extended into the start of 2016, with his Mercedes teammate ultimately going on to win the title. Heading into this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix with a fourth drivers’ championship secured, Hamilton says he is more focused than he was after his previous success.
“I think two years ago the focus was not the same at the end of the season,” Hamilton said. “I generally don’t like to look back and regret, so it is what it is, but I don’t want to be in that position again so I am planning to keep the pressure exactly as it’s been.
“I think Red Bull has really stepped up their game, with Max [Verstappen] winning the last race, and for Ferrari this is a track that really suits them and it might not be our circuit as much as the last one, but still it should be a good race weekend.
“I had such a good time racing these guys into Turn 1 last weekend and it’s a shame it ended the way it did, but I’m hoping for more of that over the next two races.”
After taking some time off following his title win in Mexico, Hamilton says the impact of his achievement has yet to fully register, although his focus is on trying to win in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
“I’m feeling great,” he said. “I’ve had some time with some family and friends in the last week, and in all honesty once I was among my friends I didn’t really think about it too much. Every now and then we’d have dinner and someone would say ‘you won the world championship last week’ and it was obviously an incredible feeling, particularly on the Monday [after the race].
“The next couple of days I was spending time with family, but it definitely feels good walking into the paddock as a world champion. It feels like the first time, it really does. I don’t know why but it feels so fresh and new. It feels great.
“I’ve still got the two races and I guess the reason for me is that it’s not really sunk in because I’ve tried to stay in the zone. I’m still in the same mental frame of mind with two races to go and it feels abnormal to back off now. It seems like a better time than ever to apply even more pressure just because I can. There are two more wins available.”