F1 2010 World Championship leader Lewis Hamilton has revealed his conviction that if he was to have his rookie season in the top flight over again with the benefit of the experience that he has now, he would 'blitz' the title 'no problem' – as he warned his rivals that he is getting 'better every year'.
Hamilton agonisingly missed out on the drivers' crown by a single marker three years ago, at the end of a fraught three-way scrap with McLaren-Mercedes team-mate Fernando Alonso – with whom he fell out spectacularly along the way – and Ferrari star Kimi Raikkonen, who pinched the laurels from beneath both of their noses at the last gasp in the Brazilian Grand Prix finale at Interlagos.
Having atoned for that disappointment twelve months later with his maiden drivers' world championship trophy in similarly close and dramatic circumstances and again in Brazil, the Stevenage-born ace is now bidding to erase the memory of an at times torrid 2009 campaign – during which he grappled early on with what was inarguably one of the worst cars McLaren has ever produced – with a second success story this year.
Arriving at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix in front of his adoring home fans this weekend, the 25-year-old sits atop the points standings off the back of a brace of victories in Istanbul and Montreal and a runner-up spot in Valencia last time out – as the Woking-based outfit threatens to develop into the team to beat. Insisting that he never lost faith in his talent and potential even through the toughest times, Hamilton is convinced the momentum is now beginning to swing definitively McLaren's way.
“To be honest, I think I get better every year,” the 13-time grand prix-winner told British newspaper The Guardian
. “That's not meant to sound like me blowing smoke up my ar*e, but you get experienced. My first year was amazing, but there were so many holes I fell down. If I went back to 2007 now, I'd blitz that year no problem. I really would, because I've had that experience.
“I've never doubted my ability in F1. The last time I did was when I moved to single-seaters. There was a lot of pressure from dad and Ron Dennis; it was horrible, and I was having to study at the same time. People were just attacking me and it was hard work, but I pulled through.
“There's definitely good momentum building in our team [now]. We're very strong and the car is getting better and better. I think I've driven as well as I've ever done. At the start of the season things were just not going my way, but winning in Canada was definitely the best weekend I've had all year. It meant I led the championship again (for the first time since 2008), but what's even nicer is waking up knowing you've won the race.
“The season is so long [that] you don't really get to celebrate. It just builds up throughout the year and you store it and, hopefully, at the end you get to let all the emotions out. In terms of pure challenge and greatness, if I was to win this world championship it would be just a remarkable achievement. I'm working as hard as I can to do it. My dream is to win three world championships – and to emulate Ayrton Senna – but just to get the second is bloody hard.”