Excitement building for Hamilton

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Published: Saturday 22nd November 2014 by The News Editor

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Lewis Hamilton is feeling “like a kid at Christmas” as the excitement builds ahead of the possibility of him becoming a double Formula One world champion.

Just 15 drivers in the 65-season history of the sport have won more than one title, and only three of those have been British in Graham Hill and Jim Clark with two apiece, and Sir Jackie Stewart with three.

For now, perhaps in an attempt to ease the pressure as Hamilton has generally been aware of the record books, he is unconcerned at the prospect of joining such an elite club.

Despite his 2008 triumph, Hamilton said: “I don’t come here thinking I’ve got one in the bag. I feel I’m chasing my first.”

The 29-year-old, however, insists he is relaxed, regardless of the seemingly tetchy nature of Thursday’s drivers’ press conference when he and Mercedes rival Nico Rosberg were made to shake hands.

A top-two finish in Sunday’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is all that is required from Hamilton to ensure he is crowned king again, irrespective of the controversial double-points scenario.

For Hamilton, it is more about controlling his excitement, as he said: “I’m relaxed. Why shouldn’t I be?

“I’m in the best place in my whole life. I’m with the best team, I’ve got the best car, I’m in the best shape – I’m excited, man. I’m excited.

“The last time I went into the championship (decider), the last two times (in 2007 and 2008), I was probably nervous.

“It’s a lot different this time. I’m excited about it. That’s a huge difference.

“It’s like being a kid at Christmas, it’s just that I need to control that excitement. I don’t have any problems with that.”

On track at the Yas Marina circuit Hamilton did all that could be asked of him in Friday practice as he topped the timesheet at the end of both sessions by slender margins to Rosberg.

Hamilton was 0.133secs clear of Rosberg in FP1 when the soft-compound tyres were used, and 0.083secs ahead in FP2 on Pirelli’s supersoft rubber.

At this stage, and with Mercedes scoring one-twos in the previous six races, it would appear all that can stop him from becoming champion is an accident or mechanical failure.

“It was a good Friday,” said Hamilton.

“The car feels great, the best I’ve ever driven at this track without doubt. The team have done an amazing job.

“So far it’s all moving in the right direction, so I just have to keep working away at it.”

Whilst Mercedes unsurprisingly dominated proceedings, at the back of the grid Caterham made their case for survival.

The Leafield-based team have returned to F1 after being allowed to miss the last two races due to falling into administration.

With the team in the shop window, 23-year-old Essex driver Will Stevens made his debut and acquitted himself well after missing most of FP1 due to technical issues.

After completing 34 laps in FP2, Stevens finished 1.5secs adrift of more-experienced team-mate Kamui Kobayashi, and five seconds behind Hamilton.

Published: Saturday 22nd November 2014 by The News Editor

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