Hamilton unaffected by being the 'target' for F1 rivals

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Lewis Hamilton has rejected any additional pressure from being the "target" for his rivals in Formula 1.

The six-time world champion has been at the top of his game for over a decade but is seeing his position gradually being challenged by the next generation, led by Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.

So far the dominance of his Mercedes team has been enough to stay ahead but as those drivers continue to try and close the gap, Hamilton insists he's ready to do battle.

"I've had a target on my back since the day I won my first championship when I was 10 years old so it's nothing new to me," he said via F1i.com.

"I've always been the only black driver there, I've always been generally at the front of the championships, so it's no different to any of the other 27 years of driving – so I'm quite comfortable in that space.

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"It's also a positive when people are targeting you and looking to try and beat you because you want everyone to bring their ‘A-Game’.

"So if we do manage to pull it off and finish ahead, it feels even better."

Of course, Hamilton hasn't always been at the very top, after spending a few years trying to catch Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull, but it was his move to Mercedes in 2013, and the new hybrid engine formula in 2014, that changed all that.

"When I joined this team I believed we would be winning at some stage," he explained.

"Did I think we would win as much as we have? Absolutely not.

"But I don't feel it's a coincidence that we have won as much as we have because the whole organization, the whole team, absolutely every individual is so focused.

"And you've seen our consistency over the years, it doesn't come easy, but it comes from really great work, a lot of great communication.

"We're very critical of ourselves, everyone's very open, we're not treading on eggshells around anyone. So it is the perfect team."