Lewis Hamilton says he can’t remember a time he has felt more pressure than he currently does in the title fight against Sebastian Vettel.
Ferrari has appeared to have the quickest car at a number of races this season — and in particular the last four — but Hamilton has still won three of the. Vettel crashed out of the lead in Germany and spun while fighting with the defending champion in Italy. Hamilton says the number of small errors made this season by Vettel are a testament to the intensity of the battle between the two of them.
“The heat is there and it is unavoidable for all of us,” Hamilton said. “It is very difficult for people watching who are not naturally in it to feel what we feel. The pressure is at its highest I can ever remember. That’s the pressure you put on yourself to success and your desires and your fears and all the people who are depending on you, which is a lot of people…”
While not entertaining talk of the championship, Hamilton says he is focused on making the most of every opportunity presented to him, having overtaken Kimi Raikkonen for victory in the final 10 laps at Monza (pictured).
“I don’t really want to talk about the ifs and put anything out there just yet. I want to take it one race at a time than say, ‘If this happens or that happens.’ The pressure is so high, all I can do is try and deliver every weekend. All I can say is that I am definitely extracting more out of the car, but I think definitely these last three races, and those three wins, those weekends, we’ve not had the upper hand.
“We have been one or two steps behind and then finish ahead — that’s an incredibly proud feeling for everyone in the team and I am sure it is that excitement which is spurring everyone else on.
“There are still seven races to go and a lot of points and trust me, we are not being complacent at all. We know we have got to work even harder than they are to close the gap or to make sure we deliver results like this more often.
“(Italy) could easily have been the other way and we could have lost a lot of ground. Going into the race I was thinking about my GP2 race [at Monza] years ago and the moment Ron [Dennis] told me I would have the opportunity, he said he was going to give me a chance, and the roller-coaster ride since then.
“Every race you want to find that balance of not being too aggressive and making mistakes. Sometimes you over-do it and other times you leave stuff on the table. I was like, ‘I do not want to walk away thinking that I’d left something on the table.’ I loved that wheel-to-wheel battle I had with Kimi and that’s the thing I like most about racing.”