IN WORDS: I’m Happy to Play the Villain at Monza – Lewis

IN WORDS: I’m Happy to Play the Villain at Monza – Lewis

Lewis Hamilton says he is happy to play the villain with the Monza crowd after he was booed on the Italian Grand Prix podium.

'I had a real nice song playing in my head'

Lewis led home a Silver Arrows 1-2 at the home of Ferrari, with title rival Sebastian Vettel a distant third.

"I had a real nice song playing in my head," said Lewis about the Monza crowd's reaction. "It kind of went over my head.

"It's to be expected here in Italy. Over the last five, six, ten years it has been common if not one of the Ferrari drivers was on top. Inevitably you are the villain here.

"If I wasn't driving today, if Valtteri wasn't driving today the Ferraris would have won. We are the villains but some days I am really happy to be the villain.

"I was just trying to remain respectful. I admire that passion. They feel a little bit more like football fans here. The aggressive ones. But it's all in the name of love for the red cars.

"In amongst them I see a British flag and bit by bit I convert a few more. It might just be a couple each time but I'm grateful for everyone."

'It's an empowering feeling'

Monza was the Lewis' sixth win of the year, and moves him three points clear of Sebastian Vettel in the Drivers' Championship - the first time the Brit has led the standings in 2017.

"It's an empowering feeling," said Lewis. "It's been a constant search and battle for perfection which is what's been needed to withhold the Ferraris because they have been exceptional the year long.

"To come to these last few races, these have been real solid races. I think I've felt more hard passion, found more in the last three or four races since Silverstone.

"Silverstone was a real empowering weekend. From there it kind of sparked a forest fire. Hopefully it reflects in my driving. To be leading, although it's just a couple of points, I'm grateful for it. But by no means do I feel comfortable."

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