Lewis Hamilton column: Jules Bianchi in our thoughts in Hungary

Lewis Hamilton Column
Hungarian Grand Prix on the BBC
Venue: Hungaroring Dates: 24-26 July
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, Red Button, Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra, online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV. Full details here

It is very hard for all of us in Formula 1 to grasp the magnitude of Jules Bianchi's death last week.

Many of us attended Jules's funeral in Nice on Tuesday, so it is all so clear in our minds as we arrive in Hungary this weekend for the final race before the summer break.

This year was already hard knowing Jules, who was a racer like all of us, was in hospital. We knew how serious his condition was, but obviously you were always hoping that he would pull through.

So to have heard that he is no longer with us; well, it is hard to believe in this day and age.

In my lifetime, three drivers' deaths have had a big impact on me. The first was Ayrton Senna back in 1994, when I was nine. Then later that year I saw a boy I knew called Daniel Spence die in karting. And now Jules.

Lewis Hamilton attending Jules Bianchi's funeral
Lewis Hamilton says Jules Bianchi's funeral was "heartbreaking"

Jules's funeral reminded me very much of Daniel's, the all-pervading feeling of sadness and loss. It was heartbreaking to see his family and friends in tears, hurting so much, and just knowing that they are going through the worst possible time.

Jules will be in all of our thoughts this weekend in Hungary but we will go out and race hard for him because, like him, we are all racers. That's what we do, what Jules did, and what he would want us to do.

Carrying on as normal, despite the shock

When someone is lost like that, of course it is a shock, but there is no question in my mind about carrying on in racing, no doubts about getting back in the car.

I have no fear. I'll just get in and drive like I always do - you can't let things like that affect you. And it will make no difference to my focus and commitment.

I am going to Hungary with the intention to win and to extend my championship lead, as always.

Hungary marks the halfway point of the season and I have to say that, from the perspective of my racing, it has been a pretty awesome year so far.

Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone
Victory at the British Grand Prix extended Hamilton's championship lead over Nico Rosberg to 17 points

Both in terms of my performance level and consistency, I am really happy with how things have gone.

Of course, I've had some bad luck - such as losing the win in Monaco after we made a strategy error late in the race, and getting a bad start because of a problem with the engine's electronic systems in Austria - but things like that are always going to happen from time to time.

Coming into this year, it was hard to think I could top last season, but I really do feel that this year has been better for me.

I have been working and focusing hard to try to take another step on a personal level with my driving and I am definitely more at home in the Mercedes car this year than I was in 2014.

The buzz from winning at home at Silverstone earlier this month lasted for quite a while and now we are at another of my favourite races and I am really looking forward to getting back in the car.

My love for Hungary

For some reason, I seem to gel pretty well with the Hungaroring. People are always asking me why, but I really don't know the reason.

It's a low-to-medium-speed circuit, almost like a big go-kart track, and I really do love driving it.

It doesn't look much, but it is a real challenge both technically and physically.

The only time you have a few seconds to catch your breath is down the pit straight.

Lewis Hamilton at the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix
Hamilton has won the Hungarian Grand Prix four times in eight attempts

Otherwise, there is no real time to relax, you are just going from one corner to the other, so you are under constant stress through the lap. It is always very hot in Budapest at this time of year - it was 37C when I arrived on Thursday morning - and that just adds to it.

It's a terrific weekend overall, actually, and if anyone is thinking of travelling to a race that's not in their own country, this is a good one to come to.

Budapest is a wonderful city and the fans and people here are so lovely. It is a very romantic city, with good food and a great energy. I would strongly advise people to come here and see it.

A special landmark on the horizon

Ayrton Senna celebrates winning the 1993 Australian Grand Prix
Ayrton Senna won 41 races from 161 grands prix - Hamilton has 38 victories from 157 starts

If I win this weekend, it would be my fifth time in nine races in Hungary. It would also be my 39th F1 victory.

I'm not generally one for statistics like that but someone told me the other day that if I win three of the next four races, I would equal the number of wins Senna had in the same number of races in his career - 41 from 161.

I have to admit that I find it hard to come to terms with that. I have always wanted to emulate Ayrton, but the fact that my name and achievements are even close to those of someone like him is unbelievable.

It makes me really proud. But I set out to win every race I enter, so I will be doing my best to achieve it.

You can follow Hamilton on Twitter @lewishamilton and you can see exclusive content on his website www.lewishamilton.com

Lewis Hamilton was talking to BBC Sport's Andrew Benson.

Top Stories