• IN WORDS: Lewis and Valtteri Talk Singapore

From fashion shows to F1 silly season, here's what our boys were talking about on Thursday in Singapore

Form suggests that the tight, twisting Marina Bay Street Circuit doesn't favour the W09. So despite a rich run of results that sees him 30 points clear in the title race, Lewis is keeping his expectations in check and his feet on the ground heading into this weekend and beyond.

"Honestly, I never even have expectations every time I come to a race, I must just tell you that. I guess ultimately our expectation is for us to give it our all and try to perform as well, if not better, than in the past races. Collectively, as a team, we have done a tremendous job in the past races and we want to try and keep that quality of performance.

"There are a lot of points still available so the approach is exactly the same as it has been all year long. It seems to be working, so we'll just keep that up for as long as we can. But we do expect there are going to be some difficult races ahead. Obviously Ferrari have been ahead of us for the past few races, so keeping up with them, if not passing them, is going to be tough.

"Red Bull been there or thereabouts in quite a lot of the races, so you have to assume this is usually a good race for them. I think this weekend, it's a downforce circuit and they're always good on their rear tyres as well so this should undoubtedly be a strong weekend for them, as it was last year."

Much of the talk after the Italian Grand Prix focused on team orders and perceptions of differing roles between drivers within their teams. For Valtteri, the story is straightforward - performance is what counts.

"I kind of understand that everyone has a free say in what they think and they can always express their opinions about drivers. For me it was not that much positive but I had a lot more fun to follow it. What I care about is my performance and our team's performance.

"It's now a situation where Lewis is leading the Championship. My gap to him is very big and obviously we are here as a team and the team wants to win both titles. For sure I'm willing to help in that way and of course try to not compromise my race too much.

"I think, for example, in Monza running very long in the first stint the penalty for me was minimal. I still ended up on the podium. The team wants both of us to do well. Of course I understand that Lewis is fighting for the Championship and for me the chance is very slim. If there is a way I can help I am happy to do so."

It's been a busy few weeks for Lewis. When he's not been behind the wheel of the W09, he's been exploring one of his other great passions - and talents - in fashion. For mere mortals, balancing the two might prove tricky. But this is no normal guy we're talking about here.

"It's not that I find it easy. As soon as I leave the races I'm able to switch off. I've got other things that I'm doing and in between, trying to fit in the training, for example, in the last week, has not been easy. But that's not really how every single week goes for me - it's just a hectic time with a lot going on in the outside world. I've travelled a lot more than I have all year long in these two weeks. But I think, from experience, I've been able to move around even more and be able to switch into race mode.

"Whilst I have those other things going on, there's not a single moment that I'm not thinking about racing, not thinking about the Championship. Knowing that we're coming to a difficult race, that you need to see if you can bring more. So, there's not a moment that I don't think about it.

"I get a lot of energy from these different things that I do. I find it stimulating and I think you'll see that my results have shown that for the past several years. As I've said, I've travelled a lot more than I have this year. This has actually been the year I've travelled the least, at least in the last five years."

While the team had its 2019 line-up locked down before the summer break, the wider driver market has gone into hyper drive over the past few weeks. So, what does Valtteri make of it all?

"I think we are in a good position as a team. We are starting the third year with similar driver pairing. We know that we work well together and hopefully it will be a more successful season for me. I am happy where we are as a team. If the team is happy too that is good.

"Being sure about next year before the summer break was really nice. I know from previous years the break is maybe not quite similar when you are still in doubt what's going to happen. In the other teams there have been many changes. It will be interesting to follow how the different drivers compare to their teammates.

"If I don't perform it can be any driver taking my seat. Not for any particular driver. It's how sport works. I've learned this in the last three years. If I perform according to my goals it's all okay. If not I don't deserve the seat. It's pretty simple."