Lewis Hamilton has described his current title battle with Sebastian Vettel as the “most intense” period of his entire racing career.
Vettel extended his championship advantage over his rival to 20 points in Austria and Hamilton, claiming he needed to be “best prepared” for the British GP, took a two-day break in Greece following the disappointing weekend.
While Hamilton defended his holiday and his absence from the London Live event, he spoke to about the strain the 2017 season is putting on him and labelled the Silverstone race as a “must-win”.
“This is the most intense battle I’ve had through my whole racing career,” he told Martin Brundle and Simon Lazenby during the live . “I’ve been racing since I was eight, but this is the most intense season in Formula 1.
“It’s definitely been difficult, we’ve obviously had a couple of issues that have not really allowed us to show the results of our hard work. But I really want to win this Grand Prix – it’s a must-win.”
Hamilton is aiming to win his fourth British GP in a row this weekend, while he can also join Jim Clark and Alain Prost as the event’s most successive drivers with five total victories.
But while he identifies Ferrari, as well as Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, as his main rivals, Hamilton also believes Red Bull can make it a three-way battle as their mid-season improvement continues.
“I think it will be very, very close but I’ve heard that these guys have brought a big upgrade,” the three-time world champion said. “They did a great job in the last race so to see Red Bull up there I think is great, to see a three-way team challenge.
“I think it’s going to be a spectacular British Grand Prix in that respect.”
As expected, Hamilton came under fire as he addressed the world’s media in the drivers’ press conference as he tried to explain why he was the only current F1 driver to miss Wednesday night’s street demonstration run.
Hamilton didn’t apologise for missing the event, but was calm and collected as he insisted he did not regret his decision.
“Ultimately we have decisions to make and you have to stand firm with the decisions and feel proud of the decisions you make and I personally do,” he explained.
“This weekend I’m going to give everything to shine as much light and raise the flag as best as I can. The goal is to win the British GP in front of my home crowd. The yearning and will to want to do that again is greater than ever.”
Don’t miss the British GP live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday – lights out for the race is at 1pm.