Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton says 2021 has been “the hardest year on so many levels” amid his ongoing title battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
With five races remaining in the campaign Hamilton trails Verstappen by 12 points in the standings.
Hamilton, who is chasing a record-breaking eighth title, has labelled the season so far as a “rollercoaster”, but asserts he is enjoying his scuffle with Verstappen.
“I expected it was going to be a rollercoaster ride,” Hamilton told Sky Sports. “It’s been amazing, it’s been the hardest year on so many levels, but there’s been so many positives and I have really, really enjoyed it, even the difficult days.
“It definitely could be better in the sense that we’ve dropped points, we’ve not always been perfect, but you live and you learn and I feel like things happen the way they happen for a reason.
“We’ve learnt a lot, we’ve pulled together after all these experiences we’ve had, win or lose, and I love the place I am in with my team.
“Particularly the things we’re doing off-track together, I’ve always been proud of my team an what we’ve achieved together [on the track], but this push that we’ve started on diversity and inclusion, kind of being that pebble that creates an effect that hopefully others follow in the industry has been something I’m so proud to be a part of.”
While Hamilton is well-versed in F1 title battles, Verstappen is currently enduring his first in his seventh season in the sport.
Hamilton believes the Dutchman is better prepared to deal with the pressure than he was when he won his first title in 2008.
“I don’t spend a moment thinking what might or what might not be a distraction for him, that doesn’t bother me either way,” he said.
“If I do my job to the best of my abilities, I don’t have a problem. That’s how I approach my job.
“I didn’t have a great structure around me in terms of management [during his 2008 championship season], I didn’t have help to know how to handle all these curveballs sent at me. I didn’t have all the experience, I didn’t have all the tools, except the ones in the car.
“But I was learning all these other tools in order to how to be a great team-mate, work with a group of people and help them elevate, and all these kind of things. Which was different for me then.”