Lewis Hamilton believes that 2019 has been his strongest season so far in Formula 1 after capturing his sixth drivers’ world championship, but vowed there was “still more to master” in the remainder of his career.

Hamilton became only the second driver in F1 history to win six drivers’ titles last Sunday at the United States Grand Prix, finishing P2 to wrap up the championship with two races to spare this season.

The result affirmed Hamilton’s status among F1’s all-time greats, and put him just one championship short of Michael Schumacher’s record of seven.

Asked after the race whether he rated 2019 as his best season yet in F1, Hamilton replied: “I definitely think so.

“I think last year was a year of just continuous growth and I think this year has also been continuous growth but I tried to make sure that I’ve started the season as I finished last year. And I think that’s just stayed through the season.

“If you look, I’ve been very consistent in qualifying. I’ve not had particularly spectacular pole positions that perhaps I did last year, but it has been second row the majority of the time, except for this weekend. And apart from Hockenheim – but I’ll give myself a pass for that weekend because I wasn’t really 100 percent.

“Otherwise I think it’s been the best performing year. I’m working on a masterpiece and I haven’t quite finished it yet.

“It takes a long time to master a craft and whilst I feel like I am mastering it, there’s still more to master. There’s still more to add to it. There’s still more pieces to the puzzle to add.

“There’s going to be more ups and downs along the way but I feel like I’ve got the best tools now, to this point at least, to be able to deal with those.”

As well as being just one title shy of Schumacher’s title tally, Hamilton is only eight race victories behind the German driver’s record of 91.

The possibility of Hamilton ending his F1 career statistically as the greatest of all-time looks high, but he stressed Schumacher’s records were not a focus for him.

“I’ve always said to you that reaching Michael’s [title number] was never a target for me. I’m not really one that really thinks of records and those kind of things,” Hamilton said.

“I definitely had thought that getting anywhere near Michael was just so far-fetched and I remember having my one for a long period of time, then getting a second one. It was so far away and now yet it seems so close, yet it is so far away that I still can’t really even comprehend.

“The challenges that we’ll face in these next coming months, the next season - you look at these other teams that have really been putting some astonishing performances in the second half of the season. It’s going to take another load of incredible performance and work from myself and all the people who are around me and I really don’t want to have to think about it right now.

“I don’t want to build up the idea of trying to get to seven because at the moment, I’ve got enjoy right now. Tomorrow’s not a given, I don’t know what’s going to happen over these next days or months but what I have to do and what we all really should try to make sure you enjoy each day because one day you’re here and one day you’re not.

“So [I’m] not trying to think of what’s going to happen potentially at the end of next year or 2021. I believe that I have the ability to continue to grow and to do more with this team and within Formula 1 and so that would be the target but time will tell.

“Right now I just focus on trying to be as fit and healthy as I can be and smile as much as I can and enjoy this beautiful journey we call life.”

 

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