Lewis Hamilton believes he is yet to reach his peak as he prepares to be crowned champion of the world for a sixth time.
Hamilton’s parents have flown from Stevenage to the United States to watch their son’s inevitable coronation, including father Anthony, the driving force behind Lewis’ career – their relationship patched-up after a turbulent period.
The British driver needs to finish only eighth in Austin on Sunday to be certain of the title that will move him ahead of Juan Manuel Fangio and within one of Michael Schumacher’s record haul of seven.
Hamilton has won five times on his last seven visits to the Circuit of the Americas. Barring a complete disaster, he will celebrate a fifth championship in six quite astonishing seasons on Sunday night.
Hamilton turns 35 in January – the same age Schumacher was when he clinched his final title – and the Mercedes star insists he is ready to topple the German’s records, accomplishments many thought would stand the test of time.
“I don’t think I have hit my peak yet,” said Hamilton. “That is comforting. I plan to continue to get stronger.
“I never thought I would have five titles. I am continuing to create dreams that I didn’t think I would ever have. If I am able to get the sixth one it will be unreal.
“But I am going to be racing for more years and I want to win every year. Believe me, I will be pushing more than ever in the following seasons.”
After winning six of the opening eight rounds this year, there has been an air of inevitably to Hamilton’s success. Indeed, there is unlikely to be any of the drama here which accompanied Hamilton’s first title triumph – the Briton beating Ferrari’s Felipe Massa by just a single point after he passed Toyota driver Timo Glock at the final corner of the last lap of the concluding race of the season in Brazil in 2008.
Nor is there the anticipation which surrounded Hamilton overcoming his old foe Nico Rosberg to claim championship number two at the 2014 finale in Abu Dhabi.
It could also be argued that this has not been Hamilton’s finest season either. The sport’s fastest ever man over one lap has secured only four poles this year. Yet, it is his race experience which has come to the fore – Hamilton winning 10 times, seven more than any other driver.
“People outside of the garage underestimate how hard it has been,” added Hamilton. “It has been a challenging year.
“We often forget how many wins we have had because it has felt so hard, but when you look at the numbers it is a good feeling that hard work pays off.”
Hamilton’s imminent triumph will see him compared to Schumacher. He is eight wins adrift of the German’s win record.
But for all Schumacher’s brilliance, his success came at a cost. He collided with Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve at the 1994 and 1997 title deciders – Schumacher was thrown out of the championship for his clash with the Canadian.
In 2006, he was found guilty of parking his Ferrari at Rascasse so championship rival Fernando Alonso could not beat his pole lap. Hamilton however has rarely, if ever, resorted to the dark arts.
“I have always wanted to win the right way, through sheer hard work and ability,” Hamilton concludes.
“It doesn’t mean I am perfect, but I like to think I am proud of the way I approach racing. That is how my dad raised me to race and that is not going to change.
“I don’t ever try to compare myself to anybody. I am different and unique and I am trying to create my own history.”