Hamilton claims 2021 F1 title would be his most significant

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has suggested victory in the 2021 Formula 1 world drivers’ championship would be the most significant of those he’s won.

Hamilton is locked in battle with Max Verstappen heading into the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the penultimate round of a season which ends in Abu Dhabi next weekend.

The pair are split by eight points, with a maximum of 52 still on the table.

“It would be, for sure,” Hamilton said when asked if success over Verstappen at the end of such a ferocious campaign would make the title stand out from the others.

“One being that this is something that no-one’s ever done before [to win an eighth world championship].

“It’s been against the toughest battle that I think the sport has seen in a long, long time, and the most challenging.

“Collectively, I think it would be [the most significant championship win] – plus we’re in a pandemic, all sorts of things that we’ve been faced with.”

This weekend’s race takes the sport to the all-new Jeddah Corniche Circuit, a venue that was only completed a week ago.

It adds to the intrigue, with Hamilton admitting teams have had to make educated guesses given a dearth of information.

“We prepared in the best [way] we can,” Hamilton said of the challenge that awaits.

“But I think people who are watching hear that we have all these simulators, but we don’t know what the track grip level is going to be until we get out there.

“It looks quite dirty,” he added,” it’s not far off Silverstone kind of surface.

“We’ve got these long, long straights, the corners… everything’s a little bit different to the simulator.

“It wasn’t [like] a lot of those tracks that have these perfect scans of the track, where this one’s kind of a guesstimate of what the track’s going to be like.

“So there’s a lot of unknowns, and none of us will know till we truly get on track tomorrow.”

The Mercedes driver has won the last two races on the trot, and heads into the Saudi Arabian race win a fresher power unit than his rival.

Hamilton’s best-case scenario from the weekend will be to draw the championship battle out to the final race in Abu Dhabi, reducing or even overhauling Verstappen in the points standings.

The Dutchman meanwhile could wrap up the championship this weekend if things fall his way.

Seven-time champion Hamilton, however, isn’t allowed the importance of the event to weigh on him.

“I’m more relaxed, and I’ve ever been,” he said of the title fight.

“I’ve just been around a long time. It’s not my first [championship battle].

“I remember how it was my first championship, and even my second and third, the sleepless nights and all those sorts of things.

“Obviously I’m a lot more sure about myself and just apply myself better than ever before.

Opening practice in Jeddah begins at 00:30 AEDT on Saturday morning.

“I know I can’t change anything from the past but all I can do is prepare the best I can for stuff ahead of me.”

Opening practice in Jeddah begins at 00:30 AEDT on Saturday morning.

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