Lewis Hamilton has heaped credit on Mercedes ‘collectively’ applying the pressure on Ferrari in the 2018 Formula 1 world championship fight which has moved him to the edge of a historic fifth drivers’ crown.

At the Japanese Grand Prix Hamilton led home a second consecutive Mercedes 1-2 to extend his lead in the drivers’ championship to 67 points over Sebastian Vettel and the teams’ advantage to 78 points over Ferrari.

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His victory at Suzuka continues a remarkable run of six wins out of the past seven races, fuelling a huge points swing having trailed Vettel by eight points at the start of the run, and can now seal a fifth world title at the next race in the United States if he wins and the German driver fails to finish second.

But rather than focus on his feats, Hamilton says it is the all-round effort from Mercedes taking on Ferrari which he sees as the key in the ‘psychological war’ including the team’s strategy and continued development push.

“I think together we can claim credit for applying the pressure, and ultimately maybe that’s what happens in head-to-head battles with top competitors,” Hamilton said. “Eventually someone has to, even though they’re still performing great, one of them can’t always be performing the same.

“It’s the psychological battle, war, that we’re in. I think it’s collectively done from everyone.

“Everyone’s putting in 100 per cent and everyone’s delivered time and time again. I’ve been grateful to have also delivered when the team have delivered.”

Despite moving to within touching distance of sealing the F1 world title, Hamilton is determined not to see Mercedes ease off until mathematically certain of being world champions in 2018.

“That part is easy for me because I just am very, very, very strict on not being complacent with our position,” he said. “There’s still 100 points available, and I know that we still have to continue doing the job that we’re doing now, I believe, right until the last flag, so that’s the goal.

“Also knowing just from past experiences that so much can happen.

“I’ll be at the factory on Monday. Everyone’s travelling back. Part of the focus is on amendments that I wish for them to really focus on making for next year’s car, but then also how we can continue to extract more from this car, because there are still always areas we can improve.”

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