Lewis Hamilton on verge of fifth F1 world title after Japan win
Mercedes driver wins at Suzuka as Ferrari stumble again
Last Updated: 08/10/18 2:35pm
Lewis Hamilton has vowed to "unleash this beast" at the United States GP as the Mercedes driver closes in on a fifth world championship.
After victory in Japan, his sixth win in the last seven races, Hamilton is on the verge of being crowned F1 world champion for a fifth time - a feat that only Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio have previously achieved in the history of F1.
YES!! What a race! I love this track, it’s crazy fun out there, I had the biggest smile on my face. To the team, I am proud of everything you do, I love you guys. #TeamLH, I am moved by your unwavering support. Today we celebrate!! 🎊 🏆 🙌🏾❤️ #StillWeRise #DrivenByEachOther #F1 pic.twitter.com/Z025R3E4ZB— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) October 7, 2018
And the Mercedes driver, who will be crowned champion in America in two weeks' time if he beats nearest rival Sebastian Vettel by eight points, is determined to clinch the championship in style.
"Austin is usually a good track for us, so I can't wait to unleash this beast there," said Hamilton.
The Mercedes driver delivered another front-running masterclass to secure victory at Suzuka, but insisted his triumph wasn't as straightforward as it may have appeared from outside the cockpit.
"I know people think it is easy when you have a lead but l was really trying to challenge myself and make sure l was living on the edge of the tyres," Hamilton told Sky F1.
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In a rare moment of alarm, Hamilton locked-up and ran with the finishing line almost in sight, and admitted: "That was my only mistake of the whole day. I was pushing. There isn't a lot of room on that corner so l was a little bit nervous for a moment."
Given the ferocity and intensity of the fight with Vettel and Ferrari prior to the summer break, it almost defies belief that Hamilton already has one hand on the championship with four races to go.
"Up until the mid-part of the season they were very strong and then we obviously got to Monza and then at Singapore was when it really started to tail off," reflected Hamilton. "I definitely hadn't anticipated that they would tail off as they have.
"I don't really have an answer for that and it's not something I'm really focused on. I'm sure Sebastian could tell you why.
"We've just been focusing on trying to do the best job we can and maximise the potential of our own ability, that's all we can do."
Which means there is no prospect of Hamilton easing off the power when F1 heads to Texas.
"There are still one hundred points on the table and we need to make sure we keep the same approach because there's no reason to change it," Hamilton said. "We've got to keep on pushing and improving."
Drivers' Championship - top five
|1) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||331|
|2) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||264|
|3) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||207|
|3) Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||196|
|5) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||173|
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