By John O’Brien
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – In the last 10 days, Lewis Hamilton has embarked on trips to New York and Shanghai to launch his fashion brand, yet the Formula One championship leader is adamant that his interests outside the sport will not derail his bid for a fifth world title.
Hamilton opened a 30-point lead over Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel with a surprise victory in Monza on Sept. 2 and while some have questioned his jet-set lifestyle, the Briton says his focus is firmly on the final seven races of the season.
“As soon as I leave the races I’m able to switch off. I’ve got, obviously other things that I’m doing, and in between, trying to fit in the training, for example, in the last week, has not been easy,” Hamilton told reporters on Thursday.
“But that’s not really how every single week goes for me — it’s just a hectic time for me with a lot going on in the outside world for me. I’ve travelled a lot more than I have all year long in these two weeks.
“But from experience, I’ve been able to move around even more than I have these past two weeks and still arrive and be able to switch into race mode. There’s not a single moment that I’m not thinking about racing, about the championship.
“I get a lot of energy from these different things that I do. I find it stimulating and I think you’ll see that my results have shown that for the past several years.
“I’ve travelled a lot more than I have this year. This has actually been the year I’ve travelled the least, at least in the last five years…”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix, Hamilton has no plans to adopt defensive tactics to maintain his championship lead on a demanding floodlit street circuit where he has won on three occasions, but traditionally favours Ferrari.
“It might be subconscious but I’ve not really thought about it (driving defensively)… at the moment there’s no reason to change,” the 33-year-old added.
“There are a lot of points still available so the approach is exactly the same as it has been all year long. It seems to be working, so we’ll just keep that up for as long as we can.
“But we do expect there are going to be some difficult races ahead. Obviously Ferrari have been ahead of us for the past few races, so keeping up with them, if not passing them, is going to be tough.”
(Reporting by John O’Brien; Editing by Toby Davis)