Lewis Hamilton: “I’m still driving at my best”

Ahead of this weekend’s start of the Formula 1 season round in Australia, we catch up with three-time champion Lewis Hamilton to see what he makes of the championship changes.

What is your opinion of the technical rule changes for the year 2017?

“You can definitely feel that there is more downforce, which this year we are flat out through turn three in Barcelona – and you can push the tyres more difficult. Previously, there was only a certain amount of life in them, but this year are going to be more consistent. That’s going to be fantastic for us, because there will be more of sprint as of seasons at the races, because we’re going to be able to push for more.”

Formula 1: in 2016, compared to a 2017

Will make this more of close races?

“The reaction of my engineers says [overtaking] could be more difficult. The dirty air is much more powerful and much more turbulent than it has been in the past. But that is more the grip of the tires is going to help.”

How much of a threat is his new team mate, Valtteri Bottas?

“Valtteri has settled comfortably in a short space of time. He is in a great frame of mind and he has a lot of positive energy. I can not say how much of a threat that is going to be so, but when he sees me at my most intense, and you’ll see yours, that is when we will discover more about each other. I want him to be the best it can be.”

How have you prepared for the season 2017?

“No matter where you from rain or how much you train in the gym: you get in the car and it beats the hell out of you. Turn three in Barcelona wrecks of his neck. But after the test when you figure where you are weak and train those areas before the first race. I am mentally prepared for this season.”

Now that I’ve had time to reflect, what do you think of Nico Rosberg’s retirement?

“I believe that F1 in general is a strenuous sport. I can really understand the feeling of wanting to stop and do something different. But then I see the [new] car and think: I’m going to stay! I’m still driving at my best.”

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