AUSTIN, United States, Oct 19 – Lewis Hamilton dismissed talk of him wrapping up a fourth world title at the United States Grand Prix this weekend as “silly”.
The 32-year-old Briton can claim the 2017 crown if he is triumphant for Mercedes and nearest rival Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari fails to finish in the top five in Sunday’s race at the Circuit of the Americas.
“Honestly, I don’t know, all of the talk of a championship win here is silly really –- Sebastian won’t have the same difficulties and he will be very quick.
“For me, it (the title) will be done in the last four races so my focus here is on winning.
“I don’t mind if it is done here or at the last race, but the most important thing here is to win, in the midst of all that is going on in the country and that is a priority for me -– and you know what I am talking about.”
Hamilton declined to elaborate on his plans or the significance of his comments about why winning is such a priority for him. He suggested that a member of the media audience understood, without explaining.
When he was asked directly if he intended to take a knee in support of the protests by NFL players against racial injustice and police brutality, he distanced himself from some of his earlier comments on the subject.
“I’ve not given that much thought,” he said, adding that when he had referred to a “gentleman at the front” who understood his thinking he was not considering the protest action.
“I’ve worked hard to be here today and I have feelings about the whole situation, but at the moment I have no plans to do anything.”
He added that if he was not to win the title in the United States, he would be happy to win it in Mexico, Brazil or Abu Dhabi.
“I’m looking forward to going to Mexico as you can always feel the love and the support there and it is an awesome event to go to and it is growing every year.
“Winning is the goal and all my drive and energy goes on that mission. I don’t mind where it happens –- here or in Mexico of Abu Dhabi. In Mexico, they know how to celebrate and so I’ll get a sombrero and party if it happens there.”
Given a chance to talk about his likely duel with Vettel, he said he was planning to continue in the same concentrated mode as he has all year.
“I am anticipating he will be strong in the last four races, as he has been strong all year,” he said.
“So, nothing changes for me -– there is no backing out and I’ll just keep pushing forwards.”
In earlier comments, he had revealed his feelings and respect for the protest.
“I know a lot of people in America so I get to speak to a lot of black and white people that live here,” he said.
“I get quite a good view of what’s happening here in the States and I get opinions from the Americans here about the movement, which I think is pretty huge.”