Lewis Hamilton insists he wishes he had more competition for the Formula One title as he nears the fifth championship of his career.
The Brit will sit on pole for today’s United States Grand Prix after finishing less than a tenth of a second quicker than Ferrari duo Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel – who will start in fifth due to a penalty.
Hamilton only needs to outscore Vettel by eight points and can secure the title if he wins the race and Vettel comes third or lower.
That’s with the 33-year-old having built up a 67-point advantage over the German in the standings by virtue of winning six of the last seven races.
Hamilton has been in spectacular form but Ferrari’s strategy call errors and Vettel’s own on-track mistakes have caused the title battle to teeter massively in the Mercedes star’s favour.
Already the most successful British driver ever, Hamilton will only be behind seven-time champion Michael Schumacher once he wraps up the fifth title of his career as expected either this weekend or across the final three races of the 2018 season.
But Hamilton himself admits he would rather face a tougher challenge, not just from Vettel but from multiple other drivers and teams, in order for the sport to be a better spectacle for the fans.
“They were obviously very quick,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 after qualifying.
“This weekend, we’re pretty much on a par performance-wise.
“As Seb [Vettel] said, they’ve gone back on some of their potential updates and the car is better in the sweet spot and for us, we’ve not brought updates here so we’re on max downforce level here.
“That’s great to see us so close and still I’m hopeful for the future to have more teams, more qualifyings like that, that are closer, but with more cars involved.
“That’s got to be the ultimate goal for Formula One.”
Hamilton has won in Austin on all four previous occasions he has started on the front row and he is seeking a fifth straight success at the Circuit of the Americas.
But he insists he is keeping calm about the situation as he hopes to secure yet another crown.
“I don’t know why that is the case. In some respects it is kind of scary,” Hamilton added on being in such a relaxed state.
“But the experience definitely helps – l am the third-oldest driver here.
“I know what l need to do when l get out there.”