Winning in the States was just an incredible feeling. I love spending time there and it’s fantastic to see how much the sport is growing. I was just blown away by the support I had all weekend, which made the win even more special.
Once I got ahead in the race there was no looking back and I still can’t quite believe the run we’ve had recently. The team are doing an incredible job. Next up, of course, we have Brazil – which is another very, very special place for me.
In 2008 I needed to finish fifth or better to take the title and, until the very last corner of the last lap, I was running sixth. I passed Timo (Glock) down the inside and, as I crossed the line, I didn’t know if I’d done it or not. I honestly though I’d lost it until quite a while after the flag, when the team came over the radio to tell me I’d won the World Championship. That was an incredible emotional rollercoaster and a moment that will stay with me for my entire life. My record at Interlagos hasn’t actually been the best so far in terms of results, though, with only one podium all the way back in 2009. I’m hoping this weekend will be the one to change that.
Interlagos – In the cockpit with Hamilton
You start the lap absolutely flat out into the low-grip Turn One. The corner really falls away from you quite steeply here and it’s so easy to lock up, but you need to make sure to get a really tight exit to enable you to be flat through Turns Two and Three. Positioning is crucial to carrying good speed through these two corners, as you’re then into the first DRS straight and one of the best overtaking opportunities around the circuit at Turn Four.
You can brake really late for this corner – way after the 100m line and closer to the 50m line – so you need to take as much speed as possible on the way in. You then take a little bit of the kerb on exit and run flat out through Turn Five, all the way up to Turn Six. Again, this is a corner where you can carry so much speed on entry – trying to just clip the apex and doing the same through Turn Seven and hanging the car out wide for the entry to Turn Eight.
Along with Turn Nine, this really does require you to use absolutely all of the kerb for the best line and is really tricky to get right. Turn Ten is next, which is really low grip and just seems to last forever. There’s so little traction but you have to find it as best you can, as you’re then flat out down the hill through Turn 11, where the car is constantly trying to step out on you.
Braking into Turn 12, the final corner in effect, is tough. Your tyres are so hot from the stop / start, high braking nature of the middle sector that the rear end can fishtail into here and it’s easy to overrun the corner. You have to keep up your minimum speed, though, as the lap ends with a flat-out run up the hill and across the line, where keeping the steering as straight and smooth as possible is crucial. It’s a long run and with the DRS zone included, this is the best chance to make an overtake stick.(Mercedes-AMG-F1)