Lewis Hamilton out to show he is ‘still young at heart’ as he closes in on F1 title

• He wanted to prove at Sukuka he was more than a match for upcoming talent
• Mercedes driver had to ‘man up, show my age and make sure I stay ahead’

Lewis Hamilton has said that he wanted to prove he is still more than a match for Formula One’s upcoming young talent during his victory at the Japanese Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver saw off Red Bull’s 20-year-old Max Verstappen at Suzuka and is within touching distance of a fourth world championship, while his title rival, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, was forced to retire from the race. The British driver’s team executive director, Toto Wolff, also observed how strong he believes the 32-year-old has become this season during a closely fought title battle.

Hamilton won at Suzuka from pole position and Vettel was forced to retire on lap four after a spark plug failure. A charging Verstappen chased Hamilton to the line. The Dutch driver had taken his second career victory at the last round in Malaysia, relegating the championship leader to second, and was constantly in Hamilton’s mirrors while looking to repeat the feat in Japan. After a late virtual safety car period, when Hamilton’s tyres took time to come up to temperature, Verstappen closed to within a second of the race leader and was eager to attack over the final laps.

Related: Lewis Hamilton in dreamland but taking nothing for granted after Japan win

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Source: Formula 1

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