Lewis Hamilton believes more maturity and a better work ethic set him apart from the man he was when he last tasted Formula One title success.
The 29-year-old heads into the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka this weekend with a slender three-point lead over Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg.
It is the closest Hamilton has come to adding to his 2008 drivers' championship crown, which he won at McLaren in his second season in F1.
A perceived gung-ho style has sometimes yielded great results or silly mistakes from the current championship leader, but he believes he has moved away from relying solely on his instinct and now understands what is needed to repeat his success of six years ago.
"I'm older, and I feel it!" he replied when asked what the major differences were between then and now.
"Back then it was all instinct, I think my maturity was at a very early stage and I probably think that is the biggest change and hopefully I will keep getting more and more mature.
"Also my work ethic. My work ethic is a lot better, more serious and more understanding - it seems to be working well for me.
"This has been the most consistent and best-performing season I have had in Formula One and I want to continue that for many, many years - it is like building blocks, I just need to keep working on it.
"You don't focus on the past but you don't forget about it. Ultimately what has happened in the past has defined today - it has shaped me personally, mentally and psychically into who I am today.
"Particularly this year, those experiences I have had I know this weekend will be a tough weekend, the next five could all be tough weekends, there is all the possibilities in the world I could be facing the toughest time of my life - but it is also possible it could be the greatest time of my life."