Hamil­ton will still be cham­pion in his heart

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Lewis Hamil­ton has in­di­cated that, in his heart at least, he will be the true For­mula One world cham­pion even if to­day’s ti­tle-de­cid­ing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix goes against him.

If he was to beat the odds and deny Mercedes team mate Nico Ros­berg a first cham­pi­onship, it would rep­re­sent the big­gest achieve­ment of the un­com­pro­mis­ing Bri­ton’s stel­lar ca­reer. “I think in my heart I will feel - and maybe I should keep that pri­vate to my­self - but I feel a cer­tain way in my heart how I have per­formed,” Hamil­ton told re­porters ahead of the sea­son’s fi­nale at Yas Ma­rina.

“If he is la­belled ‘the world cham­pion’ it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean that’s the way it’s la­belled in my heart,” said the 31-year-old, who was quick­est in both Fri­day prac­tice ses­sions, mak­ing ges­tures for in­verted com­mas. Like Ros­berg, Hamil­ton has won nine races this cam­paign but un­like the Ger­man he has suf­fered more re­li­a­bil­ity prob­lems. The Bri­ton said his feel­ings did not mean Ros­berg could not be con­sid­ered a wor­thy win­ner but world cham­pi­ons were sup­posed to be “the best in all ar­eas, all year long”. “Just like 2007, in my heart I feel like I ac­tu­ally won that cham­pi­onship,” he ex­plained.

“Whilst it doesn’t show that on pa­per, and peo­ple only re­mem­ber who won the cham­pi­onship, in my heart I know and that’s good enough for me.”

Hamil­ton missed out on the 2007 ti­tle by a point to Fer­rari’s Kimi Raikko­nen, tak­ing it the next year in­stead.

This sea­son he has fought back from 43 points down, taken the lead and then fallen be­hind again be­fore fi­nally hav­ing a chance of be­com­ing Bri­tain’s first four times cham­pion. Hamil­ton’s fans will al­ways ar­gue that with­out a late en­gine fail­ure while lead­ing com­fort­ably in Malaysia, the Bri­ton would be in charge in­stead of be­ing 12 points adrift with his fate in Ros­berg’s hands.

De­spite win­ning the last three races, he is well aware that Ros­berg need only fin­ish on the podium to be crowned cham­pion. All the Bri­tish book­mak­ers have the Ger­man as clear favourite, with Hamil­ton very much an out­side chance. “If I was to win? Oh, by far it would be the great­est, it would be the great­est achieve­ment of my ca­reer for sure,” he said.

“It would be a battle... sim­i­lar to the years and years of battle that I have had, par­tic­u­larly in our younger days as a fam­ily, all cou­pled into one year.

“I never want to write a book. I get of­fers to do books all the time and I turn them down .... but I get ex­cited about one day talk­ing about this year. There are so many thoughts I have on my mind which I can’t share with you just yet,” he added. — Reuters

ABU DHABI: Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team’s Bri­tish driver Lewis Hamil­ton (C), flanked by his Ger­man team­mate Nico Ros­berg (L) and In­finiti Red Bull Racing’s Aus­tralian driver Daniel Ric­cia­rdo, cel­e­brate at the end of the qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion as part of the Abu Dhabi For­mula One Grand Prix at the Yas Ma­rina cir­cuit yes­ter­day. —AFP

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