Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Singapore, 2012

Hamilton says it’s “gloves off” in the championship

2012 Japanese Grand PrixPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Singapore, 2012Lewis Hamilton says he’s ready for a fight for victory in Japan after his championship chances were several damaged by his Singapore retirement.

Hamilton announced today he will move to Mercedes in 2013. In his final six races with McLaren he has to close down a 52-point deficit to Fernando Alonso.

“In terms of the championship, there?s nothing to really be gained by analysing the points tables, from now on, it?s simply gloves-off.” said Hamilton.

“As in Singapore, I?ll come out fighting, I?ll just be hoping for a better result next weekend.”

Hamilton said he’s exciting to be returning to Suzuka, a track he hasn’t won at before: “When I first raced here in 2009, I couldn?t believe a place like this could still exist in Formula 1 ?ǣ it still feels like a proper old-school circuit. It doesn?t have the polish or finesse of an ultra-modern track ?ǣ but is all the better for it.

??It?s fantastically quick, too, and very difficult to master. It?s an unforgiving place, and it also has that special atmosphere that you only get in Japan, for some reason.

??I think that?s due to the fans ?ǣ they?re what make any visit to a racetrack in Japan feel so special. They?re very passionate about Formula 1, but also extremely polite and friendly ?ǣ they make you feel very special every day when you?re going in and out of the circuit.”

Team mate Jenson Button has a special fondness for Japan: “All of my grand prix wins have felt special, but winning at Suzuka in 2011, at the first grand prix held in Japan since the terrible tsunami last March, was an achievement that still makes me feel incredibly proud and emotional.

“As everybody knows, Japan means a lot to me. It?s a place I love, I?ve been here so many times ?ǣ for business and pleasure ?ǣ and I still feel that wide-eyed awe and deep emotion for a country that exists so comfortably on so many different levels.

“Suzuka is definitely a circuit that puts hair on your chest. It?s extremely uncompromising; like a street circuit, it doesn?t allow for a single mistake, punishing you for putting a wheel wrong at almost every point on the circuit.

“But it?s also extremely quick ?ǣ there?s only one line through the esses that make up the whole first section; the Degner corners are blind, hidden in dips in the track, and approached over bumps that jolt the car, trying to unbalance it. Successfully hitting the apex for Degner 1 is a bit like trying to thread a needle while running the 100 metres ?ǣ difficult!”

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Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei