Hamil­ton vows to fight back

> With six races left, Bri­ton aims to re­deem him­self by over­tak­ing Ros­berg at favourite Sepang track

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS - BY KISHEN ALEX RAJ

THREE TIMES For­mula one world cham­pion Lewis Hamil­ton said he will give ev­ery­thing at this week­end’s Malaysian Grand Prix as he looks to bounce back in the cham­pi­onship af­ter los­ing his lead to a ram­pag­ing Nico Ros­berg.

“I have six races left in this sea­son, and I have to win ev­ery race,” he said yes­ter­day dur­ing an in­ter­view in Kuala Lumpur.

“The last three races has been be­low the par. So I will give the best I can to make all my fans proud,” the triple world cham­pion added.

Hamil­ton lies eight points be­hind Mercedes team­mate Ros­berg, af­ter the in­creas­ingly im­pres­sive Ger­man pow­ered to a hat­trick of vic­to­ries in Bel­gium, Italy and in his 200th grand prix at Sin­ga­pore.

With six races left, Hamil­ton knows time is run­ning out for him.

The Bri­ton was in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day as part of his ex­clu­sive evening meet and greet ses­sion with Malaysian F1 fans.

Hamil­ton said it has al­ways been his dream to be a for­mula one driver.

“When I was five years old I have dreamt to be a for­mula one driver.

“Of course I never knew whether I was go­ing to make it, but that was my goal. I was also very for­tu­nate that my fam­ily helped me out to make me who am I to­day.”

Hamil­ton who is known to have a com­pet­i­tive na­ture in­side the track, said he the same per­son out­side rac­ing.

“I am just as crazy on the track as I am out­side the track. I am ba­si­cally an adren­a­line junkie, so I en­joy any­thing with an edge in it.

“I have done sky div­ing, mo­tor­bikes, but the scari­est thing I have done is rock climb­ing. I wouldn’t want to do that again.”

Hamil­ton at­tributes much of his suc­cess to his hum­ble up­bring­ing in Steve­nage, the place which he be­gan rac­ing as a hobby.

Win­ning came nat­u­rally to the young driver and soon he was cut­ting his teeth in na­tional events.

When asked what suc­cess means to him, Hamil­ton replied: “Suc­cess is the out­come of the jour­ney you took to get a place you want to be. I en­joyed the jour­ney I take to get to where I am now.

“For in­stance, I work with 1,300 peo­ple in the Mercedecs team to just make two For­mula one cars,” he added.

“Get­ting the best out of ev­ery­one, mo­ti­vat­ing them, and get­ting them to mo­ti­vate you, and achiev­ing per­fec­tion, that’s what make suc­cess taste so great.”

The Malaysian GP, which of­ten sees rain and thun­der­storms, has been moved from its tra­di­tional early-sea­son slot to the mid­dle leg of an “Asian swing”, in be­tween the Sin­ga­pore and Ja­pan GPs.

How­ever, Red Bull Rac­ing’s Daniel Ric­cia­rdo be­lieves the cal­en­dar switch won’t af­fect his chances of a wet race.

A wet race would also in­ter­est for­mer world cham­pion Se­bas­tian Vet­tel, as he tries to bridge a 26point gap to Ric­cia­rdo in third place.

Singing in the rain RED BULL’S Daniel Ric­cia­rdo could be for­given for per­form­ing a lit­tle rain dance in the Sepang pad­dock this week­end af­ter push­ing Ros­berg all the way in Sin­ga­pore. Ric­cia­rdo ad­mit­ted that Sin­ga­pore’s twisty, 23-turn street cir­cuit had rep­re­sented his best chance of a first vic­tory of the sea­son, at least un­der cloud­less skies.

“I think in dry cir­cum­stances this was our best shot,” he said, af­ter fin­ish­ing half-a-sec­ond be­hind the cham­pi­onship leader in Sin­ga­pore. “We’ll get a down­pour some­where and that’ll hope­fully throw a few curve­balls and we can get the vic­tory we’re af­ter.”

Rain suits Red Bull’s high down­force set-up, tem­pers Mercedes’ power ad­van­tage and can bring that ‘curve­ball’ in the shape of a safety car in­ter­ven­tion. Ric­cia­rdo will also be en­cour­aged by the cur­rent weather fore­cast, which gives an 80% chance of rain.

Hard choices SEAR­ING tem­per­a­tures and the un­known quan­tity of a newly resur­faced ‘green’ track makes tyre-wear key to this race. Mercedes suf­fered last year, hav­ing to

vic­tory at Sepang last year was his first for Fer­rari and ended a 35-race drought for the Ital­ian team. Fur­ther progress seemed as­sured as they try to close the gap on Mercedes.

But the team have gone back­wards this year, with no vic­to­ries thus far and a sus­pen­sion fail­ure in Sin­ga­pore rel­e­gat­ing Vet­tel to the back of the grid.

The team took ad­van­tage of the Sin­ga­pore qual­i­fy­ing woes by burn­ing some grid penal­ties to equip Vet­tel with a new power unit, and he drove su­perbly to fin­ish fifth. There are fur­ther up­grades to come, giv­ing Vet­tel re­newed hope of end­ing the sea­son on a high.

“I think go­ing for­ward we have con­fi­dence, there are some bits com­ing still,” said the Ger­man.

“We’re here to fight and that’s what we’re go­ing to do.”

Max’s mag­nif­i­cent sev­enth IT WAS in Malaysia in 2015 that a 17-year-old Max Ver­stap­pen came of age by qual­i­fy­ing his Toro Rosso in an im­pres­sive sixth po­si­tion on the grid in the wet, and then over­tak­ing the Red Bull of Daniel Ric­cia­rdo on his way to sev­enth place and a new record as For­mula One’s youngest ever points-scorer.

Now in­stalled as Ric­cia­rdo’s team­mate since the Span­ish Grand Prix, don’t bet against him go­ing even bet­ter this year, es­pe­cially if the heav­ens open once again. – AFP

SUNPIX BY NOR­MAN HIU

For­mula One world cham­pion and Mercedes AMG Petronas team driver Lewis Hamil­ton re­acts dur­ing a Hugo Boss ex­clu­sive event at the Pav­il­lion Mall, Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day. –

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