The McLaren-Mercedes driver talks to F1 star Lewis Hamilton:
"I don't feel the pressure!"
For a driver with a five point lead going into the last two races of the Formula 1 season, Lewis Hamilton is under a lot of pressure.
Rivals and critics alike are eagerly looking for signs that the 23-year-old McLaren-Mercedes driver is choking as the championship battle reaches its climax - can he handle it?
Four days before the penultimate race in Shanghai on Sunday, the driver everyone is watching - who is seeing Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger - talked to BILD.
BILD: Many of your fellow drivers complain about your style of driving. Does all the criticism affect you?
Hamilton: None of the criticism affects me. The other drivers on the track are hardcore competitors. When you’re going for the world title, and are in the lead like I am, then your rivals will try and put as much pressure on you as possible, both on and off the track.
BILD: Has your driving become too aggressive?
Hamilton: I don’t think I’m aggressive but I do drive passionately. Normally I don’t drive into other cars. Felipe [Massa] drove into mine on Sunday. He damaged my car on the chance that he might score points and he did. But that’s already ancient history.
BILD: Are you going to change your driving style?
Hamilton: I am always working on my style. Racing in Japan, I noticed some really intense manoeuvres by some of the other drivers. That’s what makes Formula 1 what it is: we are always operating at full throttle. That’s what makes the sport so interesting for me.
BILD: A lot of your peers have criticised you. Do you feel a little ostracised?
Hamilton: I’ve got some good friends among the drivers and I respect my fellow racers. I’m pretty sure that they also have a lot of respect for me. But of course I’m not going to get support from everybody. Why would you praise an opponent?
BILD: Are you afraid of making the same mistake as last year and losing the title right at the death?
Hamilton: Last year we made a mistake in China. [Hamilton’s team left him on for too long and the state of his worn tyres landed him in the gravel trap in the pitlane] And this year, in Japan I made a mistake. I braked too late on the first bend. The team and I are looking for a perfect result in Shanghai. Then we’ll see where we stand.