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Hamilton rises again

Mon, 31 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0700

LEWIS HAMILTON stayed true to the philosophy he has inked on his back as a victory to savour ignited his Formula One world title challenge for this year.

The words 'Still I Rise' are tattooed across the top of his shoulders - and also adorn his helmet from this season - and are a reminder that in adversity there remains the capacity to perform and achieve.

After enduring an unhappy season-opening Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago that was littered with technical problems, one of which forced his retirement after just two laps, Hamilton rose above such disappointment to clinch his first win in Malaysia, and 23rd of his F1 career.

It was also Hamilton's 100th points finish in F1, and when you throw in pole position and fastest lap, it was a weekend in stark contrast to the misery he experienced at Melbourne's Albert Park.

From lights to flag Hamilton was never troubled, finishing 17 seconds ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to hand the German marque its first one-two in the sport for 59 years.

The ambition for Hamilton now would be to rise all the way to the top again in F1 and become champion, as he was in 2008.

Asked for his thoughts behind the words, Hamilton replied: "The meaning is that regardless of what difficulties you go through, you still rise above them.

"It's really something my dad has always enforced in me. We've had so many ups and downs throughout our lives and our careers, as everyone has, but he would always say 'just rise above it' and do your talking on track.

"I had a difficult time in the last race and that's what I did today, so I feel quite good about it."

'Feeling quite good' is perhaps an understatement as Hamilton seemed positively euphoric after emerging from a car which is undoubtedly a title contender this season, as he jumped and skipped around as if the win was his first.

"I'll definitely celebrate this. I'm incredibly happy," said the 29-year-old.

"It's my eighth year here and I've finally got that win, and I really owe it all to the team who have done a fantastic job, with the guys back at the factory pushing non-stop to get the car to where it is.

"And to get a one-two, it's quite special. I've not had many in my career and so that makes it even more special."

Of course, Hamilton also had kind words for the Malaysian people in the grandstands in light of the tragedy that unfolded a few weeks ago with the loss of Malaysian Airlines flight 370.

"I'd really like to dedicate this to them and their families," added Hamilton.

Although Mercedes were dominant, the fact reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel joined them on the podium was an ominous warning fired across their bows.

Like Hamilton, Vettel also suffered an early retirement in Melbourne, so the four-times title-holder was naturally happy to be back in contention.

"We know what we have achieved so far this season is better than we expected during the winter," said Vettel.

"But we know there's a lot we can do better because it (the car) doesn't feel great when we are out there racing.

"If you go out on track and listen and look at how the cars behave, on power, I think there's a big difference (compared to Mercedes), and we know that.

"I think it's a question of time, how soon we manage to catch up, and then we can try to give them a harder time."

By Ian Parkes, Press Association