Lewis Hamilton says there is only one way he wants to clinch his fourth world title this weekend in Mexico – by winning Sunday’s race.
Hamilton comes into the Mexican GP in the relatively comfortable position of knowing he will close out the championship by finishing fifth even if Sebastian Vettel wins the race.
The Briton is on a career-best run of 22 consecutive points finishes and his only result outside the top five in that sequence was at the Monaco GP in May.
A fifth-place finish clinched Hamilton his first world title in 2008 in dramatic circumstances in Brazil, but he has wrapped up his two subsequent titles in 2014 (Abu Dhabi) and 2015 (USA) by winning the respective race.
And if he is to become a four-time world champion this weekend, Hamilton wants to be able to start the celebrations from the top step of the podium at the atmospheric Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
“It definitely doesn’t change my position – I want to win it and I want to win it the right way,” said Hamilton on his commanding 66-point lead.
“I thought the other day, I have no desire to come here and finish fifth and win the world championship while someone else stands on the top step.
How have recent world titles been clinched? Year World champion Result and race 2016 Nico Rosberg 2nd – Abu Dhabi GP 2015 Lewis Hamilton 1st – United States GP 2014 Lewis Hamilton 1st – Abu Dhabi GP 2013 Sebastian Vettel 1st – Indian GP 2012 Sebastian Vettel 6th – Brazilian GP 2011 Sebastian Vettel 3rd – Japanese GP 2010 Sebastian Vettel 1st – Abu Dhabi GP 2009 Jenson Button 5th – Brazilian GP 2008 Lewis Hamilton 5th – Brazilian GP
“They always say you’re not as good as your last race, so every single race I want to continue to show what I’m capable of. The dream would be to be standing on the top step this weekend having won the championship. That would be very much a proud moment.”
Hamilton arrives in Mexico, a race he won last year, in some of the best form of his career with five victories in the last six events.
After spending an extra night in Austin on Sunday to celebrate Mercedes’ fourth consecutive constructors’ title with the team, Hamilton flew to Los Angeles for two days of engagements before travelling down to Mexico City on Wednesday morning for this weekend’s event.
Natalie Pinkham is joined by former F1 drivers David Brabham and Perry McCarthy to review the US GP
He insists he has not given too much consideration to the potential history that awaits him on Sunday – the title of Britain’s most successful F1 driver – and is instead just focusing on repeating the scintillating form that saw him top every track session at the US GP.
“I’ve not really thought about it that much and I’m not really sure why,” Hamilton told Sky Sports News.
Hamilton v Vettel: The title race so far
“I’ve just been enjoying the moment of the last race. It felt great after winning there, a great response and a lot of positivity. I’m really just focused on trying to do the same again.
“I enjoyed the weekend so much, I enjoyed driving the race so much, so that’s what I’ve been looking forward to.
“I’m not really thinking too much about the fact we can win it this weekend. It would be cool if we did – and I do plan to – but lots of things can come into it.”
Even if Vettel won all the season’s final three rounds, Hamilton would still be champion by claiming nine points between now and the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi and he added: “I don’t really have to build up any expectation for it as long as it’s done over the next three races.”
Drivers’ Championship title permutations in Mexico Result Hamilton fifth or higher Hamilton is champion Vettel second Hamilton is champion if he finishes ninth or higher Vettel third or lower Hamilton is champion
See if Lewis Hamilton can clinch his fourth world championship at the Mexican GP exclusively live on Sky Sports F1. Sunday’s race begins at 7pm. Want to watch but not got Sky F1? Buy a NOW TV pass from £6.99!