Lewis Hamilton says he relishes the pressure being “higher than ever” against Sebastian Vettel in the battle for the Formula 1 world title fight.

Both drivers suffered huge blows during the German Grand Prix race weekend, with Hamilton hit by a hydraulics failure early in qualifying before Vettel crashed out of the race while leading, but with the Mercedes driver prospering in a dramatic victory charge having started 14th on the grid he now leads the F1 world drivers’ standings by 17 points.

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But given the number of high-profile incidents both drivers have endured so far this season, Hamilton rates this year as the toughest he’s faced both competitively and mentally.

“The pressures are huge this year,” Hamilton said. “The demands and the desires of the drivers, of myself and Sebastian for example are higher than ever and the pressure is higher than ever as you can see.

“That’s not something that I am fazed by, it’s something I am excited by because I have genuinely always felt that under pressure that’s when I’ve been at my best. I welcome the pressure.

“Under this pressure, I really work hard to position myself mentally and physically so that I'm the last to crack.”

Hamilton feels the mental games within the F1 title race is where he can find an edge on all his rivals but concedes he’s made mistakes during the campaign which are evident in the close nature of the championship standings.

“The psychological game is in any sport and it is the hardest thing,” he said. “That’s probably the most demanding thing, keeping your mind in the game from March all the way until the end of November, arriving every weekend 100 percent.

“I can honestly say not every single weekend I’ve hit the nail on the top of the head but the goal is to try and do that and you have those big setbacks, like qualifying in the last race but dependent on how strong you are up here.

“I always relate to golfers or tennis players, who miss the first serve but then the second one they ace, that’s what we are battling mentally as well.”

 

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