ABU DHABI (Reuters) - If Lewis Hamilton was a rattled man, facing a sleepless night before Formula One’s title showdown on Sunday, he was not showing it.
A chunky gold chain draped around his neck was an obvious burden but the championship leader shrugged off talk of any others after being beaten to pole position by Mercedes team mate and rival Nico Rosberg.
He could handle the mind games, and Rosberg’s suggestion that his rival might be feeling the pressure of fighting to become Britain’s first multiple champion since Jackie Stewart in 1971.
“I’ve made very few mistakes through the year so I‘m not worried,” said Hamilton when asked about errors that left him second on the grid.
”Nico is trying everything possible in his head to come up with some kind of way of dealing with things. That’s how he deals with it.
“Me, I just keep to myself and do my talking on the track. I know from my experiences of the past I‘m better prepared than I ever have been.”
The idea that he might not sleep well, suggested by the team’s non-executive chairman Niki Lauda, was met with a quizzical smile.
“I don’t think so. I’ve never struggled to sleep. I always sleep well,” he said. “I remember back in 2007 and 2008 I slept like a baby so I plan to do the same tonight.”
He indicated that Rosberg, who is 17 points adrift and needs to win on Sunday with Hamilton out of the top two places, was clutching at straws.
The German had told reporters moments earlier that Hamilton had everything to lose whereas he had all to gain.
”For sure the pressure is on him,“ said Rosberg. ”That’s my opportunity, to keep the pressure on him as much as possible and maybe he will make the mistake which we saw today for example.
“He’s been making several mistakes lately so those are the signs that give me hope. I need to keep going and who knows? Anything can happen in sport.”
Hamilton was paying no attention.
“If I made any mistakes then it would have been the same amount as him,” he said, adding that Rosberg had done an extra lap on a set of race tyres which might have an effect on Sunday.
”That was due to a mistake whereas my tyres are perfect for the race.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ian Chadband