Lewis Hamilton insists “anything is possible” in what have been labelled his “three FA Cup finals” in the closing month of F1’s title battle.
The Mercedes driver has vowed not to throw in the towel even though Rosberg could secure the title this weekend in Mexico.
Hamilton’s win in last Sunday’s US GP means he heads to Mexico with a reduced title deficit to Nico Rosberg of 26 points, but the gap remains sufficient for his Mercedes team-mate to be able to finish second in every race and become champion. Rosberg will also be crowned champion if he wins on Sunday and Hamilton fails to finish in the points.
When is the Mexican GP on Sky F1?
But, buoyed by his first victory in three months in Austin, Hamilton insists he has retained a “positive mentality” amid the ups and downs of recent months.
Recounting his fluctuating fortunes since the summer break, Hamilton said: “Spa went well [from the back of the grid]. I had the best pace in the weekend of Monza and then I didn’t get the start, which kind of decided that. Singapore obviously wasn’t great, then Malaysia was great and then it wasn’t great [when his engine blew].
“So I’ve still continued to keep a positive frame of mind – I’ve got to. There are still points available, anything is possible. The moment you give up that’s the moment you’re doomed. I’ve never given up in my life and I don’t plan on doing so.”
Hamilton’s challenges in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi have been likened to three successive finals by Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
“It’s simple for him – it’s like three FA Cup finals,” said Horner. “He’s just got to win all three races and then what happens with the other car he can’t control.”
Although Hamilton has clinched two of his three world titles in final-race showdowns, the 31-year-old has not triumphed before when he has been behind in the standings at this stage of the season.
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In 2014, Rosberg led the title race for much of the year, but Hamilton moved ahead with five races to go and never relinquished the points lead.
Since F1’s scoring system was changed six years ago, Sebastian Vettel in 2010 is the only driver to overturn a points deficit (14 points) with three rounds to go and win the title. The previous occasion came in 2007 when Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen came from 13 points back – the equivalent of 37 points today – to deny Hamilton, then at McLaren, the title in his debut year.
Hamilton is not banking on history repeating itself in his favour this time, but is aware F1’s past shows shows why he has to keep pushing.
“Honestly, I don’t try to compare it to other times, but history has shown lots of ups and downs and changes,” he said. “There have been times where it’s been dead certain already, and there have been times where it has flipped.
“So that’s exactly why I’ve just got to keep my head down and try to do the job I have done this weekend [in Austin], which I seriously believe I can do. I can’t control what’s going to happen behind to this point, it’s already been set what has happened in the past.
“All I can do is make sure that when I leave this season I know I did everything with a full heart.”