Hamilton: 'Never great' when title fight finishes early

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Lewis Hamilton says he "feels" for F1 fans who may witness Max Verstappen's coronation as soon as this weekend in Singapore, with five races left on the docket.

While the early part of the season foreshadowed a fierce fight between Verstappen and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, the Red Bull driver's unwavering charge over the summer and the Scuderia's missteps have left the dominant Dutchman on his own at the head of the Drivers' standings.

Verstappen's commanding 116-point lead means that the 24-year-old can secure his second consecutive world title as soon as this weekend if he outscores Leclerc by 22 points.

There is no disputing Verstappen and Red Bull's achievements this year, but Hamilton regrets that fans won't enjoy a down-to-the-wire title fight.

"From my point of view, I'm not really thinking much about [Verstappen sealing his second consecutive title]," Hamilton said in Singapore on Friday.

"Definitely, I feel for the fans. For everyone and even for us last year, going right down to the wire, that was intense for everybody.

"It's never great when the season finishes early. Even when I've experienced having it finish early in places like Mexico.

"For you as the one individual, it's great. But for the actual sport, it's not spectacular.

"I'm really grateful to have had like 2008 right down to the last 17 seconds and obviously last year, pretty much the same thing. Let's hope for the future that it's a bit better."

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Hamilton's own 2022 campaign has obviously been impacted by the complex aerodynamic issues that have weighed on Mercedes' new generation W13.

But the seven-time world champion is taking some consolation from the progress achieved of late and especially from the solidarity and consistent determination displayed by Mercedes' crews this season.

"For me, I'm still enjoying the challenge and am proud of the strength and the growth within our team in terms of the relationships, in terms of our focus," said Hamilton.

"Just seeing how hard everyone works in a team is for me is the most inspiring thing.

"They go from the racetrack, fly over Sunday night, they're in the office on Monday, trying to come up with solutions, trying to crack the code.

"That's really impressive because it's just relentless this season. I know everyone is looking forward to the break."

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