Motor racing-Hamilton will still be the champion in his heart

Fri Nov 25, 2016 7:11pm EST
 
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By Alan Baldwin

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton has indicated that, in his heart at least, he will be the true Formula One world champion even if Sunday's title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix goes against him.

If he was to beat the odds and deny Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg a first championship, it would represent the biggest achievement of the uncompromising Briton's stellar career.

"I think in my heart I will feel - and maybe I should keep that private to myself - but I feel a certain way in my heart how I have performed," Hamilton told reporters ahead of the season's finale at Yas Marina.

"If he is labelled 'the world champion' it doesn't necessarily mean that's the way it's labelled in my heart," said the 31-year-old, who was quickest in both Friday practice sessions, making gestures for inverted commas.

Like Rosberg, Hamilton has won nine races this campaign but unlike the German he has suffered more reliability problems.

The Briton said his feelings did not mean Rosberg could not be considered a worthy winner but world champions were supposed to be "the best in all areas, all year long".

"Just like 2007, in my heart I feel like I actually won that championship," he explained.

"Whilst it doesn't show that on paper, and people only remember who won the championship, in my heart I know and that's good enough for me."   Continued...

 
Formula One - F1 - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - 24/11/2016 - Mercedes' Formula One drivers, Nico Rosberg of Germany (L) looks at Lewis Hamilton of Britain (R) as he speaks during a news conference. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed