Hamilton determined to 'stay calm'

Lewis Hamilton knows he has to stay “relaxed and calm” otherwise he can forget becoming Formula One world champion this year.

Lewis Hamilton knows he has to stay “relaxed and calm” otherwise he can forget becoming Formula One world champion this year.

McLaren rival Fernando Alonso has slowly reeled in Hamilton over the past few races, closing the gap to a slender two points with just three grands prix remaining.

The first of those is Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix at the Fuji Speedway, unused in F1 for 30 years, but radically different as the track has been redesigned since being taken over by Toyota.

At the business end of the season, Hamilton appreciates he cannot be distracted or bullied by Alonso, as witnessed at the Belgian Grand Prix 10 days ago at the first corner La Source hairpin.

“It’s important to stay relaxed and calm and to remember it is my first year in Formula One, and I’m still 22,” said Hamilton, who then assessed his rookie season.

“It’s been quite a strange experience to realise I can win in Formula One and for the championship to become a reality. It’s been phenomenal.

“Everything is so close in the championship now, so it would be great to win.

“Japan is also one of my favourite countries and the fans are very enthusiastic, so it would be even better to win in front of them.”

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen cannot be discounted, with the Finn 13 points adrift, but team-mate Felipe Massa is a long shot as he is 20 points down.

McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh appreciates the finish to a turbulent year for the team could be enthralling.

“Three races to go, two points separating Lewis and Fernando, with the two main rivals both within 20 points,” said Whitmarsh.

“It is going to be an absorbing end to what we feel has been an exciting season for the sport.”

For Hamilton and Alonso, it is a straight fight between the duo as there is no longer a constructors’ title to win after McLaren were stripped of all points recently following the spy scandal hearing.

At least as far as Hamilton is concerned, there is a case of the unknown regarding Fuji as none of the drivers has raced at the track in F1, ensuring it should be a great leveller.

Hamilton has unusually not even been around the track on his PlayStation, adding: “I haven’t seen it yet, but I am sure it will be a great place to race.

“We will have to wait and see what it is going to be like as I do not really have a major image in my mind at the moment.

“I have to say when I was first asked about my feelings of Fuji, I was a bit disappointed I wouldn’t be getting to race at Suzuka.

“Everyone goes on about how great it is, and I always dreamed of racing there.

“But this season I have really enjoyed going to new tracks and learning them. It provides a slightly different challenge.

“Everyone will be in the same boat here, so it should be quite exciting.”

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