Lewis Hamilton promises to be 'cool, calm and collected’ in final races of 2014
Lewis also explains 'now-or-never' approach to decisive overtake and says he never doubted he would beat Nico Rosberg on race day
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 25/11/14 5:57pm
World Championship leader - and overwhelming favourite - Lewis Hamilton says he will approach the final two races with a ‘cool, calm and collected’ attitude as he strives to complete the 2014 campaign with seven consecutive victories.
Hamilton’s fifth win in succession, and his tenth of the year so far, was delivered in resplendent fashion in Austin as he mercilessly hunted down pole-sitter Nico Rosberg before muscling past his Mercedes team-mate to effectively clinch the win. It was Hamilton’s 32nd career victory – a new British record – and, judging by his animated celebrations afterwards, one of his all-time favourites. In F1, there’s surely nothing sweeter for a driver than beating a team-mate in wheel-to-wheel combat whilst armed with identical machinery.
“Although I knew I wasn’t likely to get a great start from the dirty side, there wasn’t a second’s doubt in my mind that I would get him at some point. That’s the energy l carry into a race," Hamilton told Sky Sports News HQ.
The critical overtake itself was not without risk. With just inches between the W05s, the two Mercedes ran wheel-to-wheel through Turn 12 on lap 24 as Hamilton, who had only just caught his team-mate after trailing by three seconds after the first round of pit-stops, seemingly caught a surprised Rosberg unawares. But after losing aerodynamic performance during the first stint of the race in the dirty air emanating from Rosberg’s car, Hamilton knew that he couldn't afford to bide his time before launching his move.
“That was as close as I was likely to get so I had to do it and make it stick,” Hamilton explained. “After the start it was quite clear that I had more pace than Nico. I took a lot out of my tyres trying to apply pressure during the first stint but then I started losing my rears and fell away a bit.
“The car felt good, I had taken a bit of wing out at the first stop because I had a bit too much oversteer and then I was catching him. There was one point when I was close to the DRS and l was thinking, ‘This has to be it and I’ve got to make sure it sticks’. From then on, all the steps, through Turns 1, 2 and all the way up to 12, were about setting him up to do the overtaking manoeuvre.”
“It’s a great feeling when you are dicing and battling like that.”
Except, of course, when you lose out – as Rosberg has invariably tended to do this year when duelling on the road with his team-mate.
“It’s the worst possible way to lose, to be passed by the same car,” conceded Rosberg. “I just didn’t find my rhythm and it took me too long to get into it. In the race, everything is different to qualifying and I was just too late. Only five or ten laps after Lewis got by, I got into it.”
By then, the race was all-but over, with Hamilton in cruise control to extend his championship lead to 24 points. In any other year, victory in the penultimate race would be sufficient to see crowned Hamilton champion, but the ‘Abu Double’ format fudge means that Rosberg could still be crowned champion even if he falls a further 25 points adrift in Brazil on Sunday. Ludicrously, Rosberg may yet finish the season as champion despite winning just five races to Hamilton’s eleven.
“It’s quite surreal,” said the Englishman. I want to win every race but ultimately l want to win the championship and so I will do these last two races [with a] calm, collected and calculated approach, the same as I have done this time around, and I am hoping these experiences I have had in the past will make sure I’m stronger than ever before.
“I’m grateful that I have competition. In the last two races I can’t really change what I’m doing because it seems to work. I’ve never won Brazil so that’s my next goal.”