Despite being accused in some quarters of over-driving this season, Lewis Hamilton has vowed to 'race hard' in next weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.
The McLaren driver heads to Suzuka on the back of another controversial weekend in Singapore, where an incident on track with Felipe Massa saw the Brazilian remonstrate with Hamilton as he prepared to do a live post-race TV interview.
It was the latest incident involving Hamilton this season, who has at times this year been accused of being over-aggressive behind the wheel in an effort to try and fight his way to the front of the pack.
However, having failed to make it onto the podium since his victory in German, Hamilton goes into the Japanese race eager to try and run at the front of the pack and said his aggressive style could prove to be beneficial on a circuit where 'driving on the absolute limit' is key to success.
“I think Suzuka will play to my strengths: it's a track that really requires you to drive in an attacking way to be able to get a good lap time,” he said. “It's an uncompromising place. But that's when the thrill of driving a Formula 1 car is at its highest; when you know you can't afford a single mistake and where driving on the absolute limit is the only way to get the best time. In that sense, it's a lot like Monaco, and maybe that's why I like the place so much – it's unique.
“I think we're headed there in pretty good shape: we know that the Red Bulls will be strong – but we also have a very quick car, and we can make it work on different kinds of circuit.
“Suzuka is another reasonably high-downforce track, which should play to our strengths. The weather in Japan in the autumn is always unpredictable – we've seen before that it can be beautifully sunny and hot or extremely cold and wet. I'll take any conditions as long as I can race hard.”
Hamilton added that he was hopeful that the Suzuka race would be a sign to the rest of the world that Japan is coming to terms with the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck back in March, leaving thousands of people dead and leaving scores more missing.
“I love Japan, and the Japanese Grand Prix is one of the highlights of my season,” he said. “This year, of course, we all travel to Japan extremely mindful of the consequences of the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the country earlier this year. I hope that the Japanese Grand Prix can successfully show the world that the country is strengthening and rebuilding itself after the terrible events of last March.”