Sports

Lewis: British GP win sparked 
'forest fire' in me

Lewis Hamilton attributed his surge to the top of the Formula One drivers' standings to an increased level of "heart and passion" since winning the British Grand Prix in July.

The 32-year-old Briton, whose victory in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix lifted him three points clear of Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, has won three of the last four races to become the leader for the first time this year.

As Ferrari retreated from their home race to lick their wounds after being outclassed by a Mercedes masterclass that saw Valtteri Bottas finish second, Hamilton admitted he felt he now has the momentum.

"To come through these last races - they've been real solid races - I think I've felt more heart and passion within myself," said Hamilton, who claimed a record-breaking 69th career pole on Saturday and then his 59th win on Sunday.

"I've found more in the last three or four races.

"I think Silverstone was a real empowering weekend and, from then, it's sparked a forest fire within me - and that's hopefully reflected in my driving and the way I'm working with my guys.

"To be leading, while it's only a couple of points, I'm grateful for it.

"By no means do I feel comfortable and I will apply myself the same that I have these past three or four races.

"Earlier on in the year, it was obviously a 20-point gap or whatever, between myself and him, so now I'm going to see if we can have that feeling for a while."

He said that his success had come after a "real constant search and battle for perfection, which is what's been needed to overhaul the Ferraris because they've been exceptional all year long".

He added that he had felt recharged after the European summer break last month.

"I timed it just perfectly where I came off and made sure I recharged the batteries and that's what they are, they're fully charged and ready to go!" said Hamilton.

"It's like an ERS pack.

"Towards the end of the season, you're running on the low end of the battery pack, whereas I'm operating at the top end now and it's a good feeling." - AFP

Formula 1lewis hamilton