Lewis Hamilton has been showing off his latest commercial venture. Ralph Ellis says the British driver won't be distracted from delivering another race win.
"Hamilton's memories of last year in Malaysia will be an incentive for him to deliver a perfect weekend, and to get better than odds-on the best bet is to go for Hamilton/Hamilton in the Qualifying/Winner double market."
Lewis Hamilton has had us all guessing after posting on social media a picture of himself clad in leathers and walking towards a motorbike with the promise he would be making an announcement.
With his Mercedes contract running out at the end of 2018 that prompted all sorts of speculation that he might be getting ready to quit the sport and race on two wheels instead.
Nothing so dramatic. It turns out that far from either quitting or signing a new contract to stay where he is, he has simply done a deal to work with a high end motorcycle manufacturer to release a special edition bike that he is putting his name to.
If you're bothered it's an MV Agusta Superbike called the F4 LH44, and looks very gleamy and red on his Instagram picture. Is that a hint about his future, a bit of Ferrari red? Now we really are into conspiracy theories.
Anyway there was no harm in a bit of intrigue ahead of this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix where Lewis has the chance to extend the 28 point lead he now owns ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the race to become this year's Drivers Champion.
After a fascinating duel for the first half of the season there's a danger it could become a walkover from here.
Hamilton is a master, as we know, of appearing to be distracted ahead of a big race and then turning up perfectly focused. So his latest bit of PR is unlikely to affect the outcome of Sunday's race, for which he is [1.88] odds-on to score his fourth race win in a row. To borrow a phrase from George Orwell: Two wheels good, four wheels better.
He must still be able to scarcely believe his luck after Singapore. A track which seemed made for the Ferraris suddenly all belonged to his silver Mercedes after Red Bull's Max Verstappen got in a first corner crash which wiped out both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
Now we're at what looks more of a neutral venue in Kuala Lumpar, a mixture of quick straights and a few twisty bends which doesn't seem to favour either of the two big beasts of this year's Formula One season.
When Hamilton has talked about the race rather than his Superbike enterprise he has been saying all the right things. He did have a little barb suggesting it was Vettel's mistake that caused the big pile-up in Singapore, but otherwise has been full of compliments to his big rival.
"Greats generally bounce back so I have to anticipate he will bounce back even stronger," said Hamilton. "I don't remember a time I have seen him falter under pressure."
Hamilton too has been immensely focused this season. And he'll have horrible memories of Malaysia last year when he was leading, before his engine blew up and handed to Nico Rosberg a win which ultimately probably settled the destination of the title.
That alone will be an incentive for him to deliver a perfect weekend, and to get better than odds-on the best bet is to go for Hamilton/Hamilton in the Qualifying/Winner double market.
He might have begun the weekend with a tease, but come Sunday morning it is going to be deadly serious.