Former world champion Lewis Hamilton has come out all guns blazing ahead of this weekend's potentially pivotal Japanese Grand Prix, warning his F1 2010 title rivals that he will be 'holding nothing back' over the final four outings of what has been a truly nail-biting campaign, and admitting that 'Suzuka is unfinished business for me'.
Hamilton is arguably the driver most under pressure out of the crown-chasing quintet arriving in Japan, having tallied zero points from the last two races following costly comings-together with Felipe Massa at Monza and Mark Webber in Singapore.
Now a full 20 points adrift of world championship leader Webber and with Ferrari and Red Bull Racing seemingly having stolen a timely march on McLaren-Mercedes in terms of performance, the British star muses that there can be no backing off.
“The first two Japanese Grands Prix of my F1 career were held at Fuji Speedway,” the 25-year-old reflected. “While that's a great circuit, on arrival at Suzuka for the first time last year, it was clear that this was one of the great racetracks of the world. It's a real drivers' circuit – you need to be committed and precise to do well there,and there's no room for error either, [with] no tarmac run-off and all the barriers pretty close, so any mistake is going to hurt your chances big-time.
“It's also a place with a lot of history. Before I first went there, it was a place I always associated with [Ayrton] Senna and [Alain] Prost, and their incredible rivalry – but it only ever existed on the television screen. Walking the track for the first time, and knowing I was standing on the same spot of tarmac where two giants of the sport traded blows, was an exciting experience.
“Suzuka is very much unfinished business for me. I raced the best I could last year, but our car just wasn't fast enough. This year, I'm holding nothing back – I need a strong result to get my title hopes back on-track, and that will be my complete focus from the moment I first sit in the cockpit on Friday morning. Now is not the time to hold back; now is the time to fight!”