F1 is not a friendly game of chess, says Hamilton

© XPB 

Lewis Hamilton has defended his tough overtaking move on Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix that ultimately proved crucial for him to go on and win the race.

"I knew Nico had done a great job in qualifying and I needed to get a good start. It was very tight through turn one," he said.

"The outside line into turn one is best and Nico had that but fortunately I was on the inside and I had to give it some power and make it stick," he told Sky Sports F1. "When I got ahead I started running out of road and he had to back off.

"When you are on the outside you have to expect that. It's tough for sure, but this is not a friendly game of chess - and I didn't do anything dangerous to take us out of the race. I wanted to win the race.

"I was super, super proud of myself because l had to make it stick and if I didn't I would have been kicking myself."

Rosberg was less than happy with his team mate, telling reporters afterwards that he had been forced to run off onto the grass which cost him vital seconds coming out of the turn and meant he was passed by Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.

But Hamilton himself was still on a high after claiming back-to-back wins in the event - both of them after Rosberg had beaten him to pole in qualifying. It's the third time that he's won the Japanese Grand Prix itself, although only two of those victories have been at the historic Suzuka circuit beloved by all the drivers. His first win in Japan in 2007 was at Fuji Speedway, and he had to wait until last year to finally taste success at Suzuka as well.

"I have struggled every year at this circuit, but I always loved it. When you have the balance and the car is doing what you want it to do, and you're attacking through the corners, there's no better feeling.

"I'm buzzing like you could not believe. As I'm walking through after the race I've got this rush.

"I am really grateful to the team because without them I wouldn't be here. I also want to thank my fans who have supported me all this way."

Chris Medland's Japanese Grand Prix review

Renault signs Lotus takeover letter

"I'm joking. You can laugh as well" - Rosberg and Vettel's awkward exchange

Click here for the F1 drivers' girlfriends gallery

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter