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Lewis Hamilton "working on being my best": All to play for in F1 drivers' title battle

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Lewis Hamilton "working on being my best": All to play for in F1 drivers' title battle
Oct 24, 2016, 1:08 AM

Lewis Hamilton has said that if he can perform at his maximum for the rest of the season, then he will have no problem with coming out second best ...

Lewis Hamilton has said that if he can perform at his maximum for the rest of the season, then he will have no problem with coming out second best in the title race, should it turn out that way.

The reigning world champion had a strong US Grand Prix weekend, with pole position, the win and that rarest of things, a perfect start to the race. After a patchy month in which he was bested by Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg in both Singapore and Suzuka, Hamilton found the sweet spot and closed the points gap to 26 with three races to go.

Lewis Hamilton

It still puts the championship out of his control; Rosberg needs simply to score two second places and a third to be champion, even if Hamilton wins the final three races. This is why Hamilton has had a change to a more relaxed and philisophical approach,

"I'm working on being my best, being the best I can be," he told Network 10 Australia in Austin. "I know what potential I have and it's about unlocking that, which is really my goal.

"If I finish the end of the season and know that I have given everything and not left anything on the table, I can go easily into my winter - either way - and focus on the future."

Earlier in the weekend he had spoken of "taking it like a man", if Rosberg beat him to the title.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said that Hamilton's blip in Japan, where he picked fights with the media, lost out in qualifying to Rosberg and messed up the start was down to the emotional impact of losing 25 points with an engine failure in Malaysia. Wolff referred to the 'trauma' that he and the team still feel over that incident and Hamilton referenced it in his post race press conference, following on from an oblique reference on Saturday that the replacement of his entire fuel system on his car would have knock on 'consequences'.

Lewis Hamilton

"I was just the whole race concerned the car was not going to make it.. I was just in fear of the same thing, the same feeling, the sound that I heard in Malaysia, so I was grateful that the car made it across the line.

"I have a lot more confidence in his (Rosberg's) reliability. It’s going well for him. I’ve just got to continue to do my job and hope for the best."

Hamilton had been in the UK last week to work on the clutch and start procedures, even down to tailoring the fingers of his gloves differently for more sensitivity - and he said that he knew that his start would be good,

"I knew that the start was going to go well so that’s the first time in the whole year that I’ve known that that’s going to go well," he said. "Great work done by the guys and great work done in the factory last week and it worked perfectly today."

It was a very different Hamilton in Austin this weekend to the troubled figure of Suzuka. He carried out all his media duties in a relaxed manner and thankfully the media gave him the benefit of the doubt and showed patience, rather than niggling the situation. He clearly had a bad weekend in Japan and a good one in Austin.

Venus Williams, Lewis Hamilton

But his approach now, which is more focussed simply on making sure he does the best he can do, with nothing to lose, seems to be working for him.

Rosberg has referred many times to the fact that he cannot predict what Hamilton is going to do, the tacit understanding being that he cannot beat Hamilton when he's on his A game, but if he's short of his A game then Rosberg wins. The German has improved in all areas this season in his driving, but his mental approach (and better reliability) has been the key this season. He doesn't pay much attention to what Hamilton is doing and focusses on getting the maximum out of himself.

His strength is that he is realistic, rather like Alain Prost.

It has worked well for him, but one suspects that if he were to lose the title again this year after doing pretty much evrything right, it would be devastating for his morale and would be tough to come back from.

Nico Rosberg

Now Hamilton has adopted the same approach. If Rosberg doesn't crash, spin or have a mechanical failure it will probably be too late for Hamilton to save the championship. But, as we know, anything can happen, especially at Interlagos, Brazil.

As Daniel Ricciardo said "It’s been a while since we had the sort of magical Brazil downpour, so maybe we can get one of those this year and have a chance."

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Series Formula 1
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