LONDON (Reuters) - Mercedes are over-delivering in the Formula One title battle and going from strength to strength, according to championship leader Lewis Hamilton.
The Briton won convincingly in Singapore on Sunday, his seventh victory of the season, to go 40 points clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel with six races remaining and a fifth title beckoning.
Vettel had gone into the weekend as clear favourite but Hamilton seized pole position with a monumental qualifying lap that stunned even his team mates. He then controlled the floodlit race.
“The car’s true pace is 100 and we are putting out 102,” the Mercedes website quoted the Briton, who headed to Thailand after the race for some promotional work before a few days off, as saying.
“Our understanding of the car, how to utilise the tools that we have — we’re far more comfortable at our job right now,” he added.
The jet-setting champion answered those who feared his lifestyle — with fashion shows and trips to America — would affect his bid for a fifth title by showing that it was all positive.
“People have asked me if I need to change my approach. I think we’ve got a great approach as a team. We have outperformed often a car that’s slightly better. We just need to keep doing that,” said Hamilton.
The 33-year-old said there was no chance of anyone at Mercedes getting ‘cocky or overly confident’ after stretching the gap to Ferrari in both championships.
“I don’t look at it and think that we lucked in. We honestly don’t waste any time wondering what they are doing or how they are feeling or if they are feeling pressure, if they are happy or unhappy,” he said.
“There is nothing we can do about them. All we can do is be the best we can be that weekend and hopefully that is good enough. If it’s not then we will keep working.”
Hamilton said he still felt a need to win every race and had assured team boss Toto Wolff that he would do all he could to achieve that.
“I just said to Toto: ‘Don’t for a second ever believe or let creep into your mind that I don’t want to win this championship more than anything. That’s my priority.’,” he declared.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris