Lewis Hamilton says his self-belief stems from the affirmation that comes with winning his three world titles and while he continues to remain motivated to succeed further, he insists he is now more relaxed about any set-backs that come his way.
Winner of back-to-back world titles in 2014 and 2015, to go with his 2008 crown, Hamilton has endured a tough start to the 2016 season with a myriad of technical issues and in-race incidents leaving him 43 points adrift of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg after the opening four rounds.
Despite this, Hamilton has repeatedly played down any suggestion that pressure is mounting on him, pointing out the catalogue of problems have involved factors outside of his control. With this in mind, as frustrating as the issues are, Hamilton says experience has allowed him to handle set-backs better than they would have done previously.
“I've not really changed anything, I've just grown to a point that I'm able to brush it off and just move on,” he said. “I'm just aware that there is nothing you can do about the minutes that have just passed, you just have to prepare for what's ahead of you and there's no point at all on dwelling on mistakes you make. Just make sure you work hard to make sure you don't make them again.”
Indeed, Hamilton has been noted for his 'relaxed' attitude in 2016, choosing to remain positive even with the odds against him. Though some have questioned whether this is a sign of 'demotivation', Hamilton considers it quite the opposite, seeing each title campaign as a different challenge that he can only tackle because of his experience in the sport.
“I don't feel I can be more relaxed, I still want to win more championships,” he continued. “Maybe that's sub consciously re-affirmed my belief in myself over these 23 years. Every time you succeed it's like you are facing a wall and every time you get over it and conquer that wall it's like a tap on the shoulder that maybe all those years of adding up of races and challenging yourself and doubts and winning championships and all that stuff, maybe it's helped for sure and hopefully it will continue to grow.”
Reflecting on his occasionally bitter rivalry with team-mate Rosberg, Hamilton harks back to karting days when the pair used to be close friends. He goes on to say that German went on to change when he stopped 'doing dangerous stuff'.
“No, not really. I mean there's just one change, years ago when we were younger he was massively… He was a little bit like me back in the day when we used to go and [have fun].
“Like when I visited him one time we would go out on motorbikes, he would have a motorbike and we would just go out all day and talk, in the rain and take the quad bike down and paintball, just me and him doing dangerous stuff you know. That's where I still do that and he doesn't -- that's the only difference.”