Lewis Hamilton says Petronas has been influential in the team’s wins. Pic by HAFIZ SOHAIMI

KUALA LUMPUR: Formula One superstar Lewis Hamilton wants to add a fifth world championship title next season with Mercedes AMG Petronas.

Hamilton, who secured his fourth title with two races to spare in the just-concluded season, said reliability will be key in 2018 following the introduction of a rule limiting teams to three power units.

Lewis Hamilton says he was not aware of the meet and greet the fans’ session but added that it means a lot to him. Pic by OSMAN ADNAN

The Briton's performance as well as that of teammate Valtteri Bottas, who came in third in the overall standings, also saw Mercedes secure their fourth constructors title in a row in the recent season.

"It (winning fourth world title) has not sunk in yet, it will probably be around Christmas when it does, that is just me," said the 32-year-old.

"But I am already focused on how to get better for next season.

"Reliability is a key part in our sport, the engine is the heart of our car and the fluids (lubricants, fuels) are its blood. I finished every single lap this year because of Petronas and it's what helped me win this title.

Formula One world champion Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton gestures during a celebratory event in Kuala Lumpur. Pic by OSMAN ADNAN

"Next year, we will only have three engines (instead of four) and there will be even more pressure on Petronas to advance their winning formula.

"We have already gone leaps and bounds (in terms of reliability) but with one engine less next year, it will be a challenge as each engine will have to go for about 9,000 kilometres, which is crazy."

Hamilton added that he is expecting the competition to get stiffer with McLaren, who will be shifting to Renault engines next season, and Red Bull among the two teams he believes will be faster.

"I heard that McLaren will be faster next year with a new engine. Red Bull also showed some strong pace towards the end of the recent season. It will be interesting to see if they make another step next year.

"Both (Red Bull and McLaren) have great cars but they did not have the same power unit output as Mercedes (in the recent season)".

Hamilton, who had celebrated each of his previous victories in 2014 and 2015 with Mercedes in KL, said he was touched by the reception he received at KLCC today.

"There was no way we would not come here and celebrate this title with Petronas, who has been so influential in our wins.

"I was not told about the (meet the fans) sessions and I walked out thinking it would be the press conference but instead I look over the balcony and saw a sea of people.

"It definitely meant a lot to me and I was quite emotional, particularly in a place where we will not be having a grand prix anymore. It was great to come back, even though I am only here for a day."

Malaysia hosted its last Formula One race at Sepang this year. The race has not been economically feasible in recent years due to declining interest from fans.

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