F1: Lewis Hamilton eager to build on success and challenge for title

The Mercedes driver is preparing for the Belgian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton is itching to get back into action this weekend in a bid to build on his success in Hungary and mount a Formula One title charge over the second half of the campaign.

Four weeks ago, Hamilton breathed life into his championship challenge by finally clinching his first victory for Mercedes this season and the fourth of his career around the Hungaroring.

Following the sport's near month-long summer break, Hamilton heads into this weekend's return in Belgium trailing leader and reigning three-times champion Sebastian Vettel by 48 points.

While the 28-year-old has been pursuing his other passion of music during the holiday period - posting a number of images on Twitter of himself in a recording studio - he is now eager to hit the track.

"It feels like I have been out of the car for a very long time since the win in Hungary and I can't wait to get going again," said Hamilton.

"I was at the factory (in Brackley) on Tuesday to meet up with my engineers and get in some practice on the simulator.

"It was nice to see everyone and to feel the enthusiasm around the factory after the summer break.

"We're all looking forward to the second half of the season and the opportunity to bring home some more good results."

With three successive poles to his name - the first British driver to achieve the feat since Damon Hill in his title-winning year of 1996 - and with Mercedes appearing to have cured their previous tyre woes, there is every prospect of Hamilton scoring back-to-back wins.

Motor sport director Toto Wolff recognises his team will be in the sights of their rivals after claiming seven of the last eight poles and three of the last five wins, but there is a natural desire for more.

"Our first half of the season exceeded expectations, but we will continue to work hard and to improve performance further in the second half," said Wolff.

"On paper, Spa is a circuit that should suit our car and Nico (Rosberg) and Lewis will be at their best on a real driver's circuit.

"We have a strong all-round package at the moment and good momentum after our win in Hungary.

"However, everybody will bring a special low-drag package for this circuit so we won't know who has found the best compromise before we start running on Friday.

"We cannot take anything for granted in terms of performance and Spa is always a demanding circuit for reliability.

"The key will be to do our homework well in practice in order to achieve a strong race result for the team."

With nine grands prix spread across the world and crammed into 14 weekends, the second half of the campaign is obviously hectic and exhausting.

That puts a lot of strain on the organisation, but team principal Ross Brawn feels a strong start has been made in their preparations as they seek to emulate their feats from the first 10 races.

"After a well-deserved summer break, the factory has been a hive of activity this week as we prepare for the Belgian Grand Prix and the start of the second half of the Formula One season," said Brawn.

"There has been a lot of work to achieve in a very short time to make sure we are ready for the weekend and everyone has been working hard.

"Both Nico and Lewis have been in the factory with us this week to start our preparations on the simulator and both are raring to get back into the car again.

"We finished the first half of the season on a high, and will be aiming for an equally strong second half."

 



PA

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