Lewis Hamilton insists that he is not building hopes that he can ride a wave of success all the way to the 2014 F1 world championship, despite recording back-to-back wins in Italy and Singapore.
The Briton capitalised on a DNF for Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to turn a 22-point championship deficit into a three-point advantage heading to Suzuka in a fortnight's time, but insists that he will continue to take things one race at a time, knowing how easily the pendulum could swing back in the opposite direction.
“Momentum is not something I think about because it can be snatched away,” he explained, “Just look at Nico... he's had momentum from good results, but one DNF changes things. I've had that experience in the past so I don't really look at momentum as you have to take it one race at a time.
“In terms of performance, I'm happy to be back at my best in terms of getting those pole positions and maximising those races and, today, I felt that I covered all the areas and did a solid job. Now I want to make sure these next five races [are the same].”
Asked whether he was relieved to have finally eradicated the gap that has existed between himself and his time for much of the 2014 campaign, Hamilton insisted that his focus had not been changed by the win in Singapore.
“All year I've had that gap, all year I've been chasing it, closing up and then it's gone again, so I know what could happen,” he reasoned, “I came here thinking I've got to get those seven points [the difference between first and second in the race]. Nico's going to be quick and consistent here so, if I can get those seven points, keep chipping away…. Obviously, getting 25 has changed things a little bit but, in my mind, I still want to get those next seven from here on out – that's really the mindset we're going to continue with.
“I feel relaxed at the moment. I came here to do a job and managed to get through the weekend without any issues on our side of the garage, which was a real blessing as, coming into the race weekend, you just don't know what difficulties you are going to face.”
Without Rosberg for company, Hamilton admitted that his race was a lot more straightforward, although he insists that he missed the intensity of a close competition.
“It was a different race,” he said, “It was still a hard race in itself, looking after tyres and all those things, but it's different to having someone breathing hard down your neck. With Nico not there today, it took a whole weight off - you could enjoy it, but in a different way. I was really wanting to have that close battle and having to push to see if I could eke out another lap on Nico and bring the pit-stops into play. The pit entry, the stopping in the box, the pit exit, the out-lap, those three laps - all those things come into play, but this was a whole lot more relaxed.”
The only pressure on Hamilton came after the safety car when it became obvious that the drivers behind were not planning to stop again, while the Briton still needed to use the soft Pirellis. Even so, Hamilton insists that he did not feel that the ensuing laps were 'intense'.
“I didn't know I had to get 27secs,” he explained, “I just thought I had to get a gap and got to 10secs, then 15, then 17… I began to think 'surely that's a good enough gap for me to stop' because, at that point, I thought everyone else was going to have to stop as well.
“I kept going and literally the lap I stopped, or maybe the one before, they said 'you're at 21 now, but you've got to get to 27secs', but the tyres felt really bad. I probably could have stayed out a couple more laps and, not knowing that there was a big difference in times between us, I probably could have got to 27 - but the stop made it more fun!”