Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says he disagrees with any suggestion he’s moved up another level this season in his tense battle with Max Verstappen, despite some members of his own team admitting they believed he had.
Team principal Toto Wolff described Hamilton’s win at the Brazilian Grand Prix as one of the best performances he’s seen from the seven-time world champion, adding that Red Bull and Verstappen “woke up the lion” in Interlagos, with just a handful of races left in the championship fight.
After storming to back-to-back wins in Brazil and Qatar, Wolff added: “He’s cold-blooded and on it, this is the best Lewis we have seen in the past and he is right there.”
When asked on Thursday during the FIA press conference in Jeddah however, Hamilton felt he’s been performing at the same level all season.
“I don’t know if I agree with it to be honest. I mean, I don’t believe that I’ve gone to a different level. I think I’m generally at a good level and just in general,” began Hamilton.
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“Maybe I tapped into something different in Brazil, maybe I haven’t been there before and I don’t know.
“I definitely have in my career because I’ve come back from those positions many many times before.
“But I like to think that I’ve been delivering well all year, but you are constantly learning.
“You’re learning more about everything, your surroundings and particularly the car and how you work with the team, how to get more out of every individual on the team.
“I like to think that all of us have. It’s not just been me. It’s been the engineers, it’s been the mechanics.
“It’s been absolutely every individual in the team has pulled out more, and that’s what has been needed you know.
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“We always need more, we need more performance, we need more focus, we need more power and strength and I think everyone collectively has.”
Red Bull’s Verstappen leads his rival by eight points going into the penultimate race of the season on a new track in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia this weekend.
With only Abu Dhabi to come after Sunday’s race, Verstappen could wrap up the title if the Mercedes driver has a disastrous weekend.
The Dutchman would need to secure the fastest lap alongside a win, with Hamilton finishing sixth or lower, or he wins and the Briton is seventh or lower.
Verstappen can also seal the title if he finishes second with the fastest lap and Hamilton is tenth or lower, or if Hamilton fails to finish and the 24-year-old finishes second or higher.
Qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix takes place on Saturday at 5pm GMT, with the race getting underway at 5.30pm in Jeddah on Sunday.