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Mercedes bested Ferrari in psychological war – Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton believes he and Mercedes can take credit for putting the pressure on Ferrari in the two Formula 1 teams' psychological "war" for the 2018 title.

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Mercedes bested Ferrari in psychological war – Hamilton

Hamilton has won the last four grands prix to build a 67-point lead over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and can win his fifth championship at the next race in the United States. 

Vettel's challenge has crumbled thanks to mistakes of his own, such as crashing in Germany and spinning in Italy and Japan, as well as strategic blunders by Ferrari. 

Hamilton said: "Together we [he and Mercedes] can claim credit for applying the pressure and ultimately, maybe, that's what happens in a head-to-head battle with top competitors.

"Even though they are still performing great, one of them can't always perform the same.

"It's a psychological battle and war we're in, and I think it's come from everyone. 

"Everyone has put in 100% and everyone has delivered time and time again. 

"I'm grateful to have delivered and that the team delivered."

Hamilton has won six of the last seven races to overturn the small points lead Vettel enjoyed after the first half of the season.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, leads Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09 and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, leads Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09 and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H

Photo by: Andy Hone / LAT Images

While he has clearly benefitted from Mercedes hitting its stride just as Ferrari has faltered, Hamilton has played a key part in this run. 

He was gifted victory in Russia last weekend thanks to Mercedes' use of team orders but has established himself comfortably ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas, who has not outscored the Briton since the Canadian Grand Prix. 

Crucially, Hamilton also bested Vettel wheel-to-wheel in Italy and Russia. 

"I just feel very, very proud of our performance, we've stayed on course with our plan and we're continuing to deliver at the strength and pace we have for a while now," said Hamilton. 

"I said to the engineers, 'I hope you guys feel you've performed at your best', because we really are and we should take note of that and step back for a second. 

"Because we're in it, we do the debrief, we run off to the next thing and then we're back to the factory and onto the next race it's difficult to take a second and acknowledge all the great work that individually we're doing, but also collectively. 

"It's almost like it's a marathon, not a sprint, and when you're running and just run out of stamina to keep up with those that have more. 

"We seem to have more stamina this year, which is a good thing."

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Japanese GP
Author Scott Mitchell
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