Fuji Speedway (Japan):Drivers world championship leader Lewis Hamilton said he is in a far stronger position this year than last as he approaches the final races of the Formula One season.
On the eve of opening practice for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji Speedway, the 23-year-old Englishman said he was more experienced and much better prepared for the task.
"Last year, I was a rookie and I had never done this before. This year, I am very different and I feel very different." the McLaren Mercedes driver told reporters.
"I am stronger in every way and I am sure about what I am doing.
"Last year I spent a long time in Asia and I loved it, but I was away for a long time and I missed my family and I was tired. I lost my touch with reality a little, so now I am doing it differently."
Hamilton heads into Sunday's Japanese race with a seven points lead over Brazilian Felipe Massa of Ferrari with three races remaining -- here at Mount Fuji, then in China and Brazil.
Last year, Hamilton drove brilliantly in torrential rain to win here, but threw away his chances of becoming the first rookie to land the world title in the final two races.
"I need to feel fresh for this so I have planned my schedule more carefully," he added.
"When you go to a race, you have to perform. So this time, I went back (to Europe) after Singapore and I have recharged my batteries.
"I did my training and kept myself in the right frame of mind. I spent some quality time with my family and I am back here now feeling just as good and as fresh as I did five months ago."
If he goes on to win this year's title, Hamilton will become the youngest champion in Formula One history, taking that title Spain's two-times champion Fernando Alonso of Renault -- the winner of the last race in Singapore.
"I am not thinking about all the different scenarios, I am just going out to race and to win if I can," said Hamilton.
"There are 30 more points to go for and I need as many as I can get."