ABU DHABI, UAE - Lewis Hamilton has played down the pressure of this coming Sunday's Formula 1 title showdown here with Nico Rosberg by saying he's had years of experience in dealing with it.
FRIENDS... FOR NOW Mercedes' drivers Lewis Hamilton (left) and Nico Rosberg pose with a handshake at the media conference ahead of the 2014 Abu Dhabi F1 GP. Will things be as friendly on track on Sunday? Image: AFP / Marwan Naamani
"I come into the race weekend to try to win... so nothing changes there," said the Mercedes driver, who must finish first or second to become 2014 champion even if team mate Rosberg wins on the day.
"And in terms of pressure, I don't particularly feel any," added the Briton in response to a German reporter who described him as the favourite and thus the man with everything to lose.
"I've had plenty of experience through my racing career... it might be 20 years of racing - to be prepared. There's no special recipe for it (handling the pressure)."
BANG ON TRACK
Hamilton is leading Rosberg by 17 points and has won 10 races to the German's five but, with 50 points available to the winner thanks to the novelty of double points for the final race of the season, he knows a mechanical failure could overturn everything.
On the plus side, the 29-year-old has finished in the top two in his last six races with Mercedes chasing a record 16th win from the 19-race season. The two collided in Belgium, with Rosberg blamed but going on to finish second while Hamilton had to retire, but the Briton said he expected a fair fight on Sunday.
"We're not children, we should know what is wrong and what is right," he said.
REPLAY OF BOYHOOD KART TITLE
Rosberg, sitting further along the row in the Thursday news conference, indicated that it was up to Hamilton. "Lewis can do something to keep it clean, which is drive cleanly himself," he said. "So it's not like he can't do anything."
Each agreed that this title showdown took them back 15 years ago to when they were friends and rivals fighting for a kart championship. "It's quite similar to back in the karting days," said Hamilton, who won that boyhood battle.
"At that age it was as intense as I had experienced. I wanted to win back then. Nothing's changed."
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Abu Dhabi GP finale this weekend.