MANAMA (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton says he is in the form of his life and loving every minute of being a double Formula One world champion.
The word ‘double’ is key for the 30-year-old Mercedes driver, winner of two out of three races so far this season and eight of the last 10.
Asked if he was driving better than ever, he told British reporters at the Bahrain Grand Prix: ”I’d like to think so.
“I’ve almost surprised myself that it’s been strong and building on what I did last year, and how I’ve been driving, how I’ve been adapting to things. I’ve been really happy with it, really proud generally.”
Hamilton won his first title with McLaren in 2008, only his second season in Formula One, and said the feeling now was more special.
”The first one I was so young, and lots of people have had one (title), and it’s been a long, long time since I’ve been number one,“ he said. ”You get a kind of extra hop in your walk. It’s an amazing feeling.
“When I was world champion before I didn’t have that feeling. It was different this time, this time I‘m aware of it,” added the 30-year-old.
“It’s exciting. In the past I didn’t enjoy it, and not that I live with regret, but that’s something I would change. Now I’ve the chance again and I‘m enjoying it, enjoying the feeling of the hard work I’ve put in, the hard work my team has put in.”
Hamilton has a 13 point lead in the championship over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and is 17 ahead of Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg, who made clear he was upset with the Briton’s attitude after last weekend’s race in China.
The German’s outburst was read by many as a sign of the his mounting frustration and Hamilton’s success in the mental battle.
The Briton said, however, that there was no big strategy at play.
“Every one is talking about the psychological stuff. The only psychological warfare there is, is in myself. I want to be the best I can be,” he said.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris