Lewis Hamilton says he was ready for an all-out battle for victory at the Japanese Grand Prix but won’t change his approach to the final four races in 2017 as he closes in on a fourth Formula 1 world championship.

The Mercedes driver has pulled out a 59-point advantage on title rival Sebastian Vettel with victory at Suzuka, coupled with the Ferrari driver’s second retirement in three races, and can mathematically wrap up the drivers’ title if results go his way again next time out in the United States.

Speaking before the Japanese race, Hamilton says he was fully-focused on preparing for his best against Vettel in an almighty title tussle which has steered the 2017 championship narrative with Ferrari and Mercedes being evenly matched for pace.

“I like that I’m arriving and I don’t know [who will be on top],” Hamilton said. “All I’ve got to do is make sure I’m fit, healthy, focused, there on time, at the meeting, understood the car and I’ve done my studying. Basically prepare for war. That’s what I try and do, make sure every weekend I’m the best prepared I can be.

“I don’t want to rely on fortune from the others or misfortune, in terms of performance. Ultimately, if it’s on personal performance from Sebastian, I’m not bothered about that as such. I’m confident in the car working.”

Hamilton was denied his race battle with Vettel in Suzuka after the German driver was forced to retire after four laps due to a broken spark plug on his Ferrari, but the championship leader was still kept honest by Max Verstappen’s charge in the Red Bull which saw the pair finish within two seconds of each other at the chequered flag.


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