Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Lewis Hamilton is chasing win on the bump

Lewis Hamilton

Some of the most sensational events in Formula One's recent history have taken place at Suzuka, home of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton needs no prompting when asked to list his favourite memories.

"So much history has been made at Suzuka and I'd love to be a part of that," he said. "I've won in Japan before, at Fuji in 2007, but it would mean a lot more to win at Suzuka. It's a much more challenging track and many of the great drivers have won there.

"Suzuka is one of the great, old circuits. I love it. It's like Monaco in that the driver can make a real difference. You have to be very precise, or you'll go off, and you don't want to go off at Suzuka because there's very little run-off and you'll damage the car."

Hamilton learned about Suzuka's lack of run-off last year, when he lost control of his car on a bump at the infamous Degner curve during practice. He hit the tyre wall and had to sit out the remainder of the practice session.

"I remember that like it was yesterday," he added.

"I was pushing hard and lost control on the bump. It's a fantastic bump! It's a really great bump and they should never smooth it out because that's what makes the corner so challenging.

"The problem with many of the modern circuits is that they're very smooth - too smooth. If you make a mistake, you can run over the Astroturf and onto the tarmac run-off on the outside. I don't want to see anyone get hurt, but that added challenge is one of the many great things about Suzuka."

As for Hamilton's chances of victory tomorrow, he knows he'll have to beat the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel, who has won at Suzuka from pole position for the last two years.