Lewis Hamilton says he doesn't plan to take any undue risks over the remaining three races of the 2016 F1 season in his quest to retain his title, but admits there remains a fear reliability gremlins will not give him a fair shot at pressuring Nico Rosberg.
Fresh from notching up his first win for three months in the United States Grand Prix, Hamilton still comes into the final three rounds knowing even a trio of victories won't be enough to surpass Rosberg if the German follows him in second.
A legacy of his damaging engine blowout in Malaysia and third place finish in Japan after a bad start, Hamilton nonetheless comes to Round 19 and the Mexican Grand Prix feeling more relaxed in the knowledge that he could still lose his title even if he performs to his best in the concluding races.
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“I approach it the same as I've approached generally every race. Maybe slightly more relaxed than I have others maybe because I have accepted that there are things that are out of my powers, out of my control.
“All I can do is control what is in the car and what I do. So as long as I focus and put all my energy towards that, hopefully I can get results like I did last weekend.
“But if I don't, then you move forwards. I don't think I will be taking more risks than I usually do. I think I am a relatively risky driver, but I don't think I will be taking more than others. I will definitely be cautious of my surroundings, as I always am.
“I am going for it, that is for sure. While my heart is still beating and I still have that drive to win, and there still is an opportunity even if it is only one percent I am going to be going for it.”
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Indeed, Hamilton has made persistent reference to his reliability issues in 2016 beyond dramatic Sepang DNF, a persistent fear that he says is unlikely to pass until the chequered flag drops in Abu Dhabi.
“It will probably be a feeling I have more often because I'm on my eighth engine and I've experienced a lot more than any other has this year.
“Now I'm confident everyone is doing what they can and the guys are working so hard to make sure nothing happens moving forward. But again, there are things that are just out of our hands and there have been things this year that are out of our control.
“A couple of races ago in Malaysia I had a brand-new fresh engine and Paddy said 'You can use full power the whole race' so I had no concerns and the thing blew up!
“I guess you just have to take everything with a pinch of salt, and I'm hoping and praying that my car stays intact and strong and solid for the remaining races. If it isn't, then so be it and we will try and bounce back on those next races as well.
Furthermore, Hamilton maintains the story of this year's title battle would be different if he was on a leveller playing field with Rosberg.
“I think if both our cars had been fully reliable all year long we would have had pretty much the same battle we've had all last year and the year before, so I don't see it being any different.”
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