Lewis Hamilton is not giving any thought to his chances of winning the drivers’ championship at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix as he says it would increase the pressure on him.
Following a run of six wins in seven races, Hamilton will wrap up the championship if he outscores Sebastian Vettel by eight points or more in Austin, the scene of his 2015 title triumph. Hamilton has an excellent record at Circuit of The Americas — winning five of the six races held here, including the last four — but he is not contemplating how it would feel to become a five-time world champion.
“Really as a team, none of us are saying how cool it would be if it happened this weekend or the next, we’re not focusing on ifs,” Hamilton said. “We’re focussing on making sure that we deliver. There’s still 100 points available. We can just never be complacent in life, and in a Championship as intense as this.
“We expect Ferrari to punch back hard here this weekend, so we can’t be relaxed in any way, shape or form. We’ve got to make sure we come here and raise the bar again. So, I’m definitely not thinking this weekend, how’s it going to feel if we do the job. Because I’ve got to do the job and that just adds more pressure and you just don’t need more pressure.
“I’m focusing on making sure that I drive the best that I’ve driven all year long and we get the car where we need to get it. It’s going to be wet all day tomorrow, as far as I’ve heard, and potentially on Saturday, so it’s going to be a tricky weekend. Nothing is a given.”
Hamilton’s form since the summer break has seen him pull clear of Sebastian Vettel in the standings, but the defending champion doesn’t think there has been an obvious reason for the turnaround.
“It’s a combination of so many things. Naturally, as a driver, you do improve. Or, at least, I’ve noticed in myself … I improve throughout the year. How you conduct yourself, how you perform within the team, how you’re able to maximize in the car. If you go back through all the years, you know I always say that by the second half of the season I should be better, and most of the time that’s usually the case.
“I think also, as a team, we’ve collectively done a better job in every area. And then, the other side, for sure, has not done as good a job in that respect, coming into the second phase.”