Lewis Hamilton will re-double efforts in Formula One title bid - Damon Hill

16 March 2017 02:08

Lewis Hamilton will re-double his efforts this year to make certain he is not beaten to the Formula One title for a second consecutive season, former champion Damon Hill has said.

Hamilton, 32, lost his grand prix crown to bitter rival Nico Rosberg last year despite winning more races than his Mercedes team-mate.

Just five days after Rosberg won the title in Abu Dhabi, he stunned the sporting world with his decision to retire from the sport as champion.

As such, Hamilton will be partnered by former Williams driver Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes this year - but Hill believes that his defeat to Rosberg will make Britain's triple world champion even hungrier to add to his impressive collection this term.

"Lewis was probably annoyed he did not win it last year," Hill, the 1996 world champion, said ahead of next Sunday's season opener in Melbourne. "That was one that got away and I am sure he wants to put that right.

"Nico stopped because of the pressure of competing. He had his guts turned inside out to win the championship last year and there are only so many seasons you can do that.

"If Lewis goes away, lets off steam and does whatever he has to do to keep himself fresh, then possibly that is a good thing.

"Nico had to work so hard. He admitted that. He put in the time and he did actually beat Lewis so maybe that has alerted him. Lewis is a fearsome competitor and I think he will re-double his efforts after last year."

Hamilton defied team orders at the concluding race of last season in his desperate bid to stop Rosberg from finishing second and securing enough points to win the title.

Hamilton's tactics courted fierce criticism from his Mercedes team with boss Toto Wolff suggesting that the Briton would face disciplinary proceedings for his actions.

But the Mercedes hierarchy have since bowed down to Hamilton and conceded they were at fault for attempting to dictate the outcome of the final race.

Naturally it has led some to suggest that Hamilton is in charge of the sport's all-conquering outfit which has won 51 of the last 59 races.

"I imagine it will be more settled in the team this year, but if it is not going well for Lewis he does have a tendency to make his feelings known," Hill added. "If you are talented like Lewis you have got to create the conditions whereby you can do your job without it being all-consuming.

"This is Lewis' 11th season on the trot and he knows how to manage his resources. He knows when he gets to Melbourne he will be on top of the job - that he has got energy in reserve and he will not have worn himself out doing too much PR work and taking unnecessary risks.

"I think he is in a strong position. Mercedes either want Lewis Hamilton, and the asset that he is to them and allow him the space to do his work, or they don't.

"There is always a limit and there is always a point at which somebody goes too far, but there is also a balance to be struck and you forgive people occasional blips and tantrums as long as on average they are delivering over the season."

CREDIT: Sky Sports F1® will show all 20 races this season, live in UHD for the first time with Sky Q, starting at the Australian GP on 26 March.

Source: PA