Lewis Hamilton has said that he is ready to go all-out in pursuit of back-to-back victories in the Turkish Grand Prix, having tracked down world champion Sebastian Vettel for the win in China three weeks ago.
The Briton benefited from the clash between Red Bull team-mates Vettel and Mark Webber in last year's race at Istanbul Park - having put pressure on the pair from the start - and enjoyed the better strategy in Shanghai last month, after coming from third to first in the closing stages, to end Vettel's unbeaten start to the season. Now, despite doubting that McLaren has the out-and-out pace to challenge Red Bull in qualifying, he remains hopeful of the chance to go wheel-to-wheel at the front of the field.
Of course, Turkey 2010 and China 2011 both also featured moments where Hamilton literally went wheel-to-wheel with McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, and he insists that he would not hesitate to do so again if it meant success.
“It'd be a great position to be in and, at that point, I'd take it as it comes,” the 26-year old admitted to Britain's Daily Mirror
newspaper, “We are team-mates and here to finish as high up as we can for the team. We've no problems racing together - we've proven that at the last race [in China] and here last year. We are fair fighters and aggressive, hopefully in the right ways.”
Where he expects any battle with Button to be a fair fight, Hamilton is less certain of what to expect from Vettel, even though the German hardly made it difficult for the McLaren to pass in Shanghai. Instead, he will focus on assuming the role of pursuer once again, boosted by the performance he and the McLaren team produced in China.
“We're not like Seb, who has had the fastest car for some time, and arrives here knowing he has the fastest car still," noted Hamilton, who trails his rival by 21 points after three races, “We have a different mentality, we know we have got to hustle and grind to try to take advantage of every slip up and capitalise even more. We can't bank on a gift from them this time, we have to be faster than them. I'm not confident it will come, but we'll see in practice.
“I have no worries in terms of driving. I've had a great couple of weeks [and], if I've got the car beneath me, I know I can do the same again. It is always important to maintain the momentum when you win. If my car can find an extra three-tenths, I've got to try to find six-tenths. I am the hunter and he is the quarry. Unfortunately, we don't know if we will have all the upgrades we planned to have. The guys are working their hardest, but we are so pushed for time."