Lewis Hamilton knows he has to stay "relaxed and calm" otherwise he can forget becoming Formula One world champion this year.
His McLaren team-mate and rival Fernando Alonso has slowly reeled him in over the past few races, closing the gap to two points with three grands prix remaining. The first of those is Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix at the Fuji Speedway, unused in F1 for 30 years, but radically different, having been redesigned since being taken over by Toyota.
"It's important to stay relaxed and calm and to remember it is my first year in Formula One, and I'm still 22," said Hamilton. Reflecting on his debut season, he added: "It's been quite a strange experience to realise I can win in Formula One and for the championship to become a reality.
"Everything is so close in the championship now, so it would be great to win. Japan is also one of my favourite countries and the fans are very enthusiastic, so it would be even better to win in front of them."
Renault's executive director of engineering Pat Symonds attempted to crank up the pressure on Hamilton, saying he felt the youngster is starting to show signs of cracking. In Belgium 10 days ago Alonso bullied the 22-year-old Hamilton off the track at the first corner, and Symonds said: "I have been immensely impressed with Lewis, but we may have seen a little chink in his armour after Spa."Reuse content