Fresh from winning a third straight Grand Prix, Formula One phenom Lewis Hamilton is the man in full popularity mode. Yet, when he asked his fellow competitors what took him to another level during the fourth race of the season, a new genre of conversation emerged.
“The difference was being able to go from places where you’re not considered to be that successful in the past to the points that you are now,” Hamilton said.
But that was the subtle subtext he was hearing, and it was no matter to him how many times he’d reply. “That’s why there are 200 different teams in Formula One,” he continued. “There’s 200 different ways that you can win races.”
Lessening the number of ways, however, won’t change the, well, numbers. The Silverstone Herald reported he has qualified on pole for five consecutive races, previously completed 1,000 laps in a single season, and this year has scored seven victories through five races. That doesn’t leave much room for experimentation.
“It is definitely satisfying. I am very happy about that,” the British driver told FOX Sports. “But looking at the calendar, I don’t think you can have every car be successful the whole time in every race.”
Hamilton has been on the verge of greatness, as the stats above would suggest, for a decade now. In the sixth year of what he hopes will be a championship campaign, he still feels the pressure to succeed. The 2008 Formula One World Champion – another young Briton, the late David Coulthard – made less of a splash on the F1 stage than Hamilton has done.
“I have been the youngest world champion to date, but also the fourth – something that we must continue to strive for,” Hamilton said. “It was always the goal I would have when I was a child.”
That feeling still lingers today, he said. Even if his Mercedes team took time to make the full adjustment, he continues to strive to improve as the years tick by. “Of course that pressure is there,” he said. “But I am trying to improve and learn, as I have been able to do this year.”
Then again, he does have a 24-year-old brother to keep him humble in his pursuit of greatness. While British named-sounding may mean more than you realize, Hamilton said, the pressure to meet that expectation doesn’t come with any family drama.
“We would run a tight ship, without letting things go over the edge,” he said. “We’re both focused on winning races and world championships, whether its overtaking or creating chances – or even winning races.”
In the end, Hamilton said, it comes down to something fairly obvious.
“A championship starts with that lead,” he said. “You are one win away from the next podium, the next win, the next podium.”
Nicolas Hamilton is a correspondent for FOX Sports Brazil.
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