F1 World Championship leader Lewis Hamilton has warned against taking anything for granted as the grand prix circus arrives in Singapore for the sport's inaugural night race this weekend – with the Briton claiming the last four outings of the season feel 'like starting from scratch'.
The McLaren-Mercedes star will take on those four races with just a slender one-point advantage over Ferrari title rival Felipe Massa in the fraught battle for glory, following the FIA International Court of Appeal's refusal to hear his team's plea over his Belgian Grand Prix penalty earlier this week.
Having led for the majority of the campaign only to see a seemingly comfortable 17-point lead over Kimi Raikkonen in the sister Ferrari disappear over the final two grands prix of 2007 – agonisingly losing out on clinching the crown at the very last gasp – Hamilton is adamant that the Spa-Francorchamps controversy and subsequent courtroom drama in Paris must not allow his focus to be distracted and for history to repeat itself.
“It didn't really disrupt my week to be honest,” news agency AFP
quotes the 23-year-old as having said of the appeal hearing. “I went straight from there to the airport and onto the plane. It was kind of like a long stop-over, just as boring.
“With Paris behind us we can give it (the championship) our best shot. We move on and that is all in the past now. I think we can approach these next races with the same confidence we did the last few, because we have got a great package [and] we have done a great job to prepare the car.
“I've got great confidence in the car, [and] the reliability is good. I just need to take the right steps over the weekend. I really feel confident, but we must not get ahead of ourselves. There are a lot of competitors here this weekend pushing for the win, so I need to just try and do the best job I can.
“These last four races are like starting from scratch. There's only one point in it, and I've got to look at this race the same as I have over the last few races and really try and attack this weekend and get points.”
Indeed, having already triumphed in the most prestigious outing on the F1 calendar – Monaco – and in front of his throngs of adoring home supporters at Silverstone this season, Hamilton is clearly keen to similarly prevail in what is set to be a groundbreaking race in the history of the top flight.
Though he reckons overtaking will be possible around the Marina Bay Street Circuit, he also agrees with Massa that qualifying will be of crucial importance [see separate story – click here