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Hamilton insists Formula One title isn’t in the bag

Lewis Hamilton has said the race to win the Formula One Drivers’ Championship between him and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg is still far from over, despite opening up a 17-point lead following his recent win in Sochi.

Although he is odds-on at 1/5 to take the title with Coral, the 29-year-old admits that this season has shown that any lead is never big enough.

“It is very positive to have the points and be finishing ahead of Nico but history’s shown this year that the gap can never be enough,” Hamilton said. “The most important thing is what the gap is at the end of the year.”

Hamilton has had to make up a points deficit on three occasions this year, though admits that he can’t take his proverbial foot off the gas.

“Nothing changes. I have to keep fighting and pushing as hard as I have been until now. If I can bring any more, then I will,” he added. “There is never a comfortable feeling. I don’t think I ever did have a comfortable feeling when I was in a championship fight ever in my life.

“It’s tense all the way to the end and this is a championship that is going to go to the end. I just hope that the future is bright in these next few races.”

Asked whether the historic victory in Russia, which secured the Constructors’ championship for Mercedes, was dedicated to anyone in particular, his answer was conclusive.

“All week there was only one person on my mind and that was Jules (Bianchi). Of course there is happiness for the team with today’s title win but there is also no doubt that I was thinking of him and his family a lot,” he continued, referring to the horrific crash the French driver sustained in Japan.

“I keep him in my prayers every day. If it means anything, I would like to dedicate my win today to him and his family. I hope that every bit of positive energy will help. Let’s all send positive vibes out to him.

Teammate Rosberg, who is 7/2 to win the title, said: “I need to continue to attack and I need to look to win them,” before joking: “All of the next three races are my favourites.”