Hamilton feeling "stronger than ever"


Lewis Hamilton goes into the defence of his title insisting he is feeling stronger than ever, despite changes in his private life.

Whilst Kimi 'The Iceman' Raikkonen rarely gives anything away, Lewis Hamilton has always been one of those who wears his heart very much on his sleeve. A point in case being 2011, when problems in his life away from the track clearly impacted his 'day job'.

Consequently, following the highly publicised split with girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, not to mention his management, Simon Fuller's XIX Entertainment, some fear the 30-year-old could be facing another season of angst.

Not so, insists the Briton.

"In previous years it's been the case where (personal issues) affected my life in general. But I feel that I still carry that kind of mentality from last year and while it's not been easy, I feel stronger than ever.

"Having been in this position before, I don't feel that it's going to be a problem," he added. "I still feel like I've got enough in place to do what I need to do and to be the best I can be."

Following a strong pre-season in which his team never quite showed its hand, some might say that, the threat from his teammate aside, Hamilton is under less pressure this year. Again, he disagrees.

"I definitely don't feel that I have less pressure," he said. "The pressure is the same that it is every year. I didn't arrive at the tests thinking: ‘OK, I'm world champion.' I'm thinking: ‘I've got to do everything again and I've got to do it better than I did before because I know that everyone else will have taken a step'.

"Last year was the best year I've ever had," he continued, "but it doesn't mean I can't beat it, so that's what I'm trying to do. I've been winning ever since I won my first (karting) championship when I was ten years old. The feeling is very much the same.

"You've got a glory feeling because you've done what you've set out to achieve, but it doesn't change anything else that you do. Winning the championship is like a warmth in your heart that you carry. It's not like an excitement that you have for days and days. You just continue and you move on. It's not something that lingers for a long time."

Since winning his second title, Hamilton's profile way from the race track has noticeably risen, witness his appearance at various fashion and music awards shows, including a slightly cringe worthy moment at The Brits.

"I might be wrong but I don't feel that anything's really changed in that respect," he says. "I'm massively into fashion awards, but have been for the past few years.

"I would say that there are more cameras popping out from all over the place," he adds, appearing to contradict his previous comment. "But I would hope that it's grown. Ultimately, you want to continue to grow and you want to broaden your visibility as well because it's good for the sponsors. That's where Formula One is now. It's entertainment, but it's also a great place for the team and for companies to promote their logos and continue to build their brands."

Though a new contract with Mercedes has yet to be agreed, team boss Toto Wolff rubbishing media reports of a 1m a week deal, Hamilton remains confident all will be resolved soon.

"Hopefully we're in the final stages," he says. "I don't really know what the timeline is for that but we're not rushing, but we're very much in the last stages of it. So for the foreseeable future, I'm committed to this team."

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Published: 08/03/2015
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