Hamilton's driving does the talking

Lewis Hamilton, pictured, closed the gap in the title race to championship leader Fernando Alonso to 37 points

Lewis Hamilton, pictured, closed the gap in the title race to championship leader Fernando Alonso to 37 points

First published in National Sport News © by

Lewis Hamilton presented a contrast in character after an Italian Grand Prix victory that proves he should remain with McLaren.

Bombarded with questions over his future in the build-up, Hamilton shrugged them aside to grab pole and follow that up with his 20th career victory at one of the world's most famous racetracks. At times post-race it was hard to believe Hamilton had emerged triumphant, closing the gap to championship leader Fernando Alonso to 37 points after the Spaniard finished third.

In one sentence Hamilton declared himself "so grateful, so happy" to have won, but in another he claimed being on the podium was "hard to enjoy when you're being booed, but I don't care, I won".

As Hamilton took to the podium in front of a sea of tifosi, the colloquial term for Ferrari's fans, there were plenty of boos for the 27-year-old Briton, seemingly tempering his joy at finally taking the chequered flag at a venue he has long held in such high esteem.

Team-mate Jenson Button claimed last week the scene below the podium, in the wake of finishing second on three consecutive occasions, was more akin to a football crowd and difficult to take in.

Hamilton had a taste of that, but not hard to understand given he is a McLaren driver standing on top of the podium in Ferrari's backyard, but after a near lights-to-flag success save for a few laps led by superb runner-up Sergio Perez (Sauber), a chirpy Hamilton said: "It's an incredible feeling, phenomenal.

"You never know what's going to happen when you come into a race weekend, but I've been so happy that it's just gone quite smoothly throughout the weekend and the guys have done a great job with the package.

"And this is Monza, one of the very historic circuits, one I have not won at before, so it's great to take another stepping stone in my career. I'm very thankful for all the support I've had."

When it was put to Hamilton whether this weekend was enough to keep him at McLaren, he said: "I'm not really focusing on next year, I want to focus on this year. This is one race at a time and I'm trying to take this team to the top.

"I'm trying to help them as they are trying to help me to win both championships. It is an incredible team and I have a great relationship with them, so I'm really looking forward to the future."

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