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Lewis’ focus is back on racing

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“I’m hoping for a better weekend but I think it’s going to be very hard to beat the Ferraris with those long straights.”

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton before the race. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Lewis Hamilton will turn his attention back to racing as he can clinch the Formula One title for the third straight year at the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday.

Hamilton made headlines last week with an Instagram post in which he said he was considering “giving up on everything” because the world was a mess and people didn’t care.

He urged followers to turn vegan but faced a backlash, accused of being a hypocrite because of his environment concerns while being a successful driver in the top motorsport series.

He followed up later with “a message of positivity” in which he vowed “I haven’t given up, I’m still here fighting”.

That he will need to do at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez where he and his Mercedes team face an uphill battle, looking at past results.

A modest ninth-place finish at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez was enough to ensure him the 2017 trophy, and he also clinched the 2018 title without making the podium there, placing fourth.

Hamilton enters the event he won in 2015 with a 64-point lead over teammate Valtteri Bottas, who won the last race in Japan.

He needs to earn 14 points more than the Finn on Sunday to clinch a sixth career title, moving him within one of the record seven from Michael Schumacher.

There are various permutations but Hamilton will have to make the podium in all of them – given that the Mexican race is the fourth-last one of the season this time around and not the third-last as in the past.

But Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff expects “Mexico to be the most difficult one for us” from the remaining grands prix.

“The high altitude of the track brings some fairly unusual challenges as the low air density affects the downforce of the car, the cooling and the engine performance. It’s a combination that doesn’t particularly suit our car, but we will give it everything to try and limit the damage,” he said.

Hamilton agreed, saying in Japan: “I think Mexico is generally our worst race of the year because of the way our car is set up and it’s going to be a tough one for us. The last few have been pretty shocking, even though we’ve won the title there.

“I’m hoping for a better weekend but I think it’s going to be very hard to beat the Ferraris with those long straights.”

Mercedes assured themselves of a sixth straight constructors’ title in Japan and can also celebrate a sixth drivers’ title in a row because Bottas is now Hamilton’s only rival.

Bottas has said “I don’t really give up on anything as long as there’s a theoretical chance,” but added that “I’m realistic as well that I will need to be very lucky”.

The men to beat in Mexico are Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, as well as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who topped the podium in 2017 and 2018.

dpa