Hamilton out for race lead

‘I’m here for blood,’ says Bri­tish ace

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - CLASSIS -

TRIPLE world cham­pion Lewis Hamilton says he is hun­grier than ever and out for “blood”, as the Mercedes driver pre­pares for his 200th race in For­mula One this week­end.

The 32-year-old Bri­ton is 14 points be­hind Fer­rari’s Se­bas­tian Vet­tel, with nine races re­main­ing, and has yet to take an out­right lead in the cham­pi­onship against a for­mi­da­ble op­po­nent.

But he ex­pects to rem­edy that, start­ing in Bel­gium to­mor­row.

“One thing for sure in this sec­ond part of the sea­son . . . is that I’m here for blood. I’m here to win and I’m here to stay,” he said.

“It’s strange. When you’re rac­ing for so long – it’s my 200th race – you would think that maybe your pas­sion or your de­sire to win would fade. But it’s stronger than ever. And that’s ex­cit­ing for me.”

The most suc­cess­ful cur­rent racer, in terms of wins if not ti­tles, Hamilton can also equal sev­en­time world cham­pion Michael Schu­macher’s all-time record of 68 pole po­si­tions at Spa.

That would be a sym­bolic mile­stone to reach, with Spa also mark­ing the 25th an­niver­sary of Schu­macher’s first grand prix win.

Rein­vig­o­rated by his Au­gust break, and smit­ten by his first visit to Cuba, Hamilton said he was ready for any­thing and de­ter­mined to raise his game.

“I want the next nine [races] to all be 10s. I want you guys to be stand­ing there with those boards: 10, 10, 10,” he said.

“I’m go­ing to be ahead of him [Vet­tel] in ev­ery sin­gle race from now on, that’s my goal. No games. I’m here to win. I want it just as much if not more than any­one else this year.”

Hamilton made his de­but with McLaren in 2007, miss­ing the ti­tle by a sin­gle point but win­ning in 2008 – again by one point af­ter mak­ing a cru­cial over­take on the last cor­ner of the last lap in Brazil.

His move to Mercedes in 2013 brought two more cham­pi­onships – in 2014 and 2015 – but he missed out last year to now-re­tired Ger­man team­mate Nico Ros­berg.

He has won 57 of his 199 races, four this year, and could soon be­come the first Bri­ton to win four ti­tles – the same number Vet­tel has.

Hamilton said he still felt young at heart, de­spite the ‘crazy’ 200race mile­stone, and also priv­i­leged and grate­ful. Not that he could re­mem­ber all of his races, or even se­lect a favourite.

“My first grand prix was such a huge high­light. My first grand prix win, Sil­ver­stone grand prix win, Monaco grand prix win. Win­ning the ti­tle in Brazil,” he said.

“I think a favourite would prob­a­bly be a wet race – when you’ve come from 10th or fourth and you out­smart the guys ahead of you and ex­ploit the car as no one thought you could.” – Reuters

HIGH HOPES: Lewis Hamilton is burn­ing to beat Se­bas­tian Vet­tel

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