Lewis Hamilton admits he has surprised himself with how he has improved his racing this year to “the highest level I’ve been at”.
Especially as his main target had been to get better in qualifying!
The 35-year-old Briton has wrapped up his seventh World Championship with three grands prix to spare, completely dominating the 2020 campaign by winning 10 of the 14 races so far.
Performances such as in the Turkish Grand Prix, where Hamilton won by 31 seconds after starting from sixth on the grid, have highlighted his supreme race craft and, in particular, his ability to extract the maximum from a set of tyres.
And while there has been universal admiration for his displays in the Mercedes, Hamilton has raised the bar higher than even he himself could have imagined given it was on a Saturday, rather than a Sunday, that he had wanted to achieve more.
“It definitely feels like the most all-rounded highest level I’ve been at,” Hamilton told Autosport. “It’s a natural progression – you can’t always get it right.
“This year, being as we’ve also had COVID, we’ve had more time to focus on areas of weakness and I would say last year the racing was strong, qualifying wasn’t so great and I came into this season trying to make sure I kept the strengths but worked on the weaknesses.
“But in improving in qualifying, I’ve managed to improve the racing, which was a bit of a surprise. I wasn’t expecting that.”
And the scariest thing for his rivals as he looks ahead to a potential record-breaking eighth World Championship in 2021? He feels there could be yet more improvement to come.
“For any athlete that’s at the top of their game, you could always say it’s going to be hard to raise the bar,” he added.
“The easiest thing is to let it slip. But it’s not like I’m new to this. I know what I need to do to get myself in the right head space and physically in the right place also.
“I don’t really see it being an issue of keeping consistency but it’s much smaller increments in terms of raising the bar.
“I don’t really know whether it can get any better. The racing, for example, is super-strong but there are still elements that could be better. But not everything is easy to improve on.”