Lewis Hamilton feels strategy and race management are key elements to Formula 1 racing which add to the sport’s interest and is against a move to more outright sprint races.

The reigning F1 world champion feels a key strength to his success is understanding the “chess game” of a race strategy and having the ability of being able to push and conserve at required times in a Grand Prix.

Despite seeing Mercedes lose both opening 2018 F1 races to strategy issues, including a software bug at Albert Park which saw Hamilton fail to hold the correct time gap to Vettel under the Virtual Safety Car, the British driver believes that sprint races reveals who’s fast but race management in F1 enables him to find an edge on the competition.

“There are so many drivers here and everyone can drive fast. Obviously there are some drivers who can drive faster, but we can all drive a fast and flat-out race,” Hamilton said. “But there’s more to it when there are skills that you need to get to the end of the race faster.

“It’s more like a chess game than a rash decision racing. I personally enjoy it and I take great pride in the ability I have to manage my race the way I do. Generally, I like to think I’m able to do it in a better way than other drivers are, but there are lots of tools.

“It’s not just about being a driver, I’m also a strategist when I’m in the car and you have to think a lot. I like that challenge and I guess I’ve grown used to it, but it’s definitely not easy that’s for sure. When they are telling you not to hit a certain time, you don’t have to abide by that fully, you have to feel it out.”

With F1 commercial rights holders Liberty looking to tweak the future rules to place more importance on the drivers after criticisms of engineers producing the pivotal competition difference compared to the drivers, Hamilton appreciates that a balance needs to be found and is intrigued to see what changes could come in.

“We are in a good period of time in F1 and I am grateful I am are here at this period of time when they are bigger, faster, there’s more downforce and there is more of a challenge globally,” he said. “It will always be difficult for people that are watching and even the engineers to understand how difficult it is for us [to drive].

“It’s like we have no comprehension for how difficult it is to fly a fighter jet, but you can kind of imagine it must be cool but by no means easy.

“It’s a huge team and I am only one man so finding a percentage is difficult. If a bigger percentage can come from the driver then that is only good for me.”

 

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