Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton spoke with Sky F1 after his Spanish GP win and reflected on the 2018 season so far, saying it has been his toughest on and off the track.
A passionate Lewis Hamilton insists he wants to build on his Spanish GP victory with more “perfect weekends” and is more motivated than he ever has been to secure an F1 title.
Hamilton said before the Barcelona race that he wanted to deliver the “ultimate performance” and win in style after an inconsistent start to the season, and he did just that with a pole-to-lights triumph – finishing more than 20 seconds ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
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In doing so, the championship leader extended his advantage over Sebastian Vettel to 17 points in the standings and, though acknowledging the tough battle of F1 2018, Hamilton already has his sights set on delivering a fifth title, saying he has never been more determined.
“Already this is the hardest year that I’ve faced, in the car, at the track, away from the track,” the reigning world champion told Sky F1. “But the will to want to win this championship is greater than it’s ever been.
“The pressure and the passion that I have to win this championship is far greater than I’ve ever had it.
“How is that possible because I’ve had it as great as it could be in the past? But [I have] the will to want to get this one and do it right, perfect weekend in, weekend out.”
Hamilton’s Mercedes contract expires at the end of the season and despite ongoing talks he still has not agreed an extension.
But he continued: “If I keep this feeling then I’m going to be racing for a long time, but we shall see.
“Right now I’ve just got to keep my head down and keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
Ted Kravitz analyses all the key moments from the Spanish GP.
Despite extending his lead out in front lap-by-lap after successfully negotiating the start in Spain, Hamilton said he was pushing throughout the race as he looked to extract the most out of a W09 he had not been able to “sync up” with beforehand.
As the Englishman put it: “It definitely felt that for every couple of steps forwards we were having five steps back.”
His struggles with the balance and feel of his car even had the four-time world champion beginning to doubt himself.
After an impressive season-opener in Australia, Hamilton never looked close to victory in Bahrain and China before sealing a first victory of 2018 in fortunate circumstances at the Azerbaijan GP.
“Before I was like, ‘maybe I’m just crazy and everyone has got quicker and I’ve got slower, or everyone has just got quicker’,” he admitted. “But it’s not that.
“We just lost something in that feeling and today it came back a little bit. We just need to work if we can take it even further.”
Lewis Hamilton says he is close to returning to his best form as he begins to understand his car more and winning the Spanish GP.
Hamilton is expecting to face a sterner test at the next race in Monaco, claiming both Ferrari and Red Bull could be faster than world champions Mercedes. But he is also ready to snatch every chance available.
“I’ve been here a while and hopefully the experience counts for something,” he added. “It’s definitely a year where you have to take the rough with the smooth and you have got to try and capitalise on every opportunity, particularly how close it is with us all.
“That is what I’m trying to do and try and ensure I leave no stone unturned every single weekend.”
See the final word on all the Spanish GP action and latest F1 talking points on the next edition of the F1 Report! Make a date with Sky Sports F1 on Wednesday at 8.30pm when the guests are former Ferrari and McLaren engineer Pat Fry and technical analyst Craig Scarborough Get Sky Sports F1.