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Hot Hamilton driven to succeed

By Reuters in Austin, Texas | China Daily | Updated: 2014-11-05 07:35

Formula One star closes in on title after 10th win of the season in Texas

Lewis Hamilton's father always told him to "drive like you stole it" but there was never any question about who owned Sunday's US Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver did not start on pole, that honor denied him by teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg in Saturday qualifying, but the Briton knew he had something special going on.

Hamilton feels at home in the US, where he spends time with singer girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger and friends in Los Angeles, and where he won the inaugural race at the Circuit of the Americas in 2012.

As he took the checkered flag for his 10th win of the season, and fifth in succession, the championship leader entered the record books as the British driver with most Formula One wins - his 32 now one more than 1992 champion Nigel Mansell.

"Once I got past Nico it was really just about controlling it," he told the crowd in a podium interview with 1978 champion Mario Andretti, the last US driver to take the title.

Later, once he had tried Andretti's black Stetson sheriff's hat for size, he told reporters: "Before the race there's a lot you can do to really understand what opportunities could come up and in different scenarios, how you approach it, and I felt very much on top of that as I have done for quite some time.

"I went into the race thinking I need another race just like 2012 and it was just like that. I was catching him through exactly the same points at which I was catching Sebastian (Vettel in 2012).

"There wasn't a moment in the race when I didn't think that I would get him. Once I was past, as I said, I was able to relax for a second and really try to manage the tires."

The move, when it came, was on the 24th lap - a fitting number since the win sent him 24 points clear of Rosberg with two races remaining and a maximum of 75 points available.

It could still be that he ends up with 11 wins and no title, a casualty of the new rules that allow double points for the final round in Abu Dhabi, but on Sunday he was not thinking of that.

Instead, Hamilton was fizzing with the excitement of another win on the continent where he took his first two victories in his debut 2007 season.

The manner in which he took the lead, an aggressive swashbuckling pass through the inside as Rosberg braked early and went slightly wide into turn 12, was the mark of a true champion.

"I had been planning that for many laps and just never really got close enough," said Hamilton.

"The opportunity was there and I knew there was a big head wind into that corner. All weekend there's been a head wind into turn 11 and today it turned around, so it was a head wind into 12. So braking there was really strong.

"I felt really confident going into there, I had the slipstream and I pulled out, outbraked him. But it was really important that I didn't lock up and outbrake myself and go wide. It felt good."

Post-racing options

Hamilton said he has started thinking more about what he wants to do when he eventually hangs up his helmet. He gave few clues but indicated he would want to do something different.

"A lot of the drivers come back and do reporting and commentary. I would personally have different plans and aspirations," he said, speaking at a race where at least five former world champions were involved in some sort of media or promotional work.

"It's positioning myself so that when I stop, I have something to continue on with. There's going to be an undeniable urge to want to get back in the car.

"I've been racing since I was eight years old so that's going to be natural as it was for Michael (Schumacher), as it was for every driver."

Schumacher retired from Ferrari as a seven-time world champion in 2006 but returned with Mercedes in 2010 for a disappointing three-year comeback in which the German failed to win a race.

Ferrari's 2009 world champion Kimi Raikkonen also returned after taking two years out.

"Mika (Hakkinen) tried to come back because it's just like a drug, you can't get away from it," said Hamilton.

"At some stage when I retire ... I'll have something that I'm also really interested in that is a substitute. So that's kind of what I want to start working on and building on."


 Hot Hamilton driven to succeed

Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates with former F1 world champion Mario Andretti on the podium after winning the United States Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, on Sunday. Mark Ralston / Agence France-Presse

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