Lewis Hamilton insists a busy fortnight off the track, in which he revealed his first fashion line, has not distracted him from his ultimate goal on it – sealing the 2018 F1 championship.
Hamilton arrives for the Singapore GP with a 30-point advantage over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel but has had a hectic schedule since claiming the last race in Italy; collaborating with renowned designer Tommy Hilfiger in Shanghai, and then New York, for the launch of his debut clothing range.
It has been an experience an ever-energetic Hamilton has relished, but he still claims this weekend’s race and the title battle has been at the forefront of his mind.
“There’s not been a single moment over these two weeks that I’m not thinking about racing, that I’m not thinking about the championship and how I want to arrive – knowing that you’re coming into a difficult race that you want to try and bring more to,” the Mercedes driver said.
When asked if the travelling was a ‘gamble’ and an unwelcome distraction from racing, Hamilton retorted: “Not at all. I get a lot of energy from doing these different things. I find it stimulating.”
There are only seven races remaining in the 2018 season, though Toto Wolff has already admitted that the narrow Marina Bay street circuit should favour Ferrari’s package more than Mercedes.
But Hamilton said: “I feel optimistic coming into this weekend. I’m really hopeful that we can still fight with them.”
Hamilton has won three of the last four races despite Ferrari’s recent surge and is adamant he won’t change his approach despite his big championship lead.
“It’s not a factor,” he stated. “We do expect there’s going to be some difficult races up ahead. Ferrari have been ahead of us the last few races so keeping up with them, if not passing them, is going to be tough.”
The Englishman added to Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz: “It’s definitely looking better, but there’s still so many points available so we can’t change a single thing. We’ve got to apply the pressure.
“They have been quicker these last races and we’ve managed to overhaul them through strategy or by doing an overall better job. So we’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing and applying that pressure because at the moment it’s working.”
It’s not often Hamilton has a chance to talk about one of his passions away from the track on an F1 media day, but he was evidently excited about his fashion getaway.
Hamilton launched his collection on the catwalk in Shanghai, before then revealing it at New York Fashion Week.
“It’s just very surreal watching people wear your own clothes,” Hamilton told Sky F1. “It’s been an incredible learning experience that I’ve really enjoyed doing.”
The Englishman even claimed he got as big a “buzz” from the events as he gets from the starting grid of an F1 race.
“It was very much the same, as if I was on the starting line,” he added. “When they were just standing right on the edge of the doorway, I had the same nerves as I do when I’m on the grid and about to start the race.
“It was kind of crazy, I was not expecting it!
“I wanted it to be perfect, to have the best impact and for people to like it.”