Damon Hill believes Lewis Hamilton has become a different racing driver in pursuit of Max Verstappen for this year's F1 championship.
Verstappen has led the standings since his second-place finish in the Turkish Grand Prix, at one stage opening up a 19-point cushion after his win in Mexico that has now been clawed back to eight going into the final two races.
Hill feels that in closing the gap, seven-time champion Hamilton again "has a spring in his step".
Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, the 1996 champion added: "He's been getting better and better.
"He does this. He goes off on this semi-engaged period in the middle of the season, and then when he needs to finish off the championship he becomes a completely and totally focused individual."
Hamilton happy to be the hunter - Hill
Asked, though, whether he would rather have Verstappen's eight-point lead or be in Hamilton's shoes with the seemingly quicker car at present in the Mercedes, Hill added: "Well, Lewis likes to be the hunter, doesn't he?
"So he's happy where he is - hunting. But he's precious few opportunities to make up the deficit.
"And we have a statistical situation now where he could lose the championship to Max in Saudi Arabia if certain permutations take place."
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff recently stated that he felt a lion inside Hamilton had been awakened following the events in São Paulo where the 36-year-old made up 24 places over the sprint and grand prix to claim victory.
The celebrations with that win were in stark contrast to those in Qatar recently that were noticed by Hill.
"The tension is still too intense, it's too palpable, and they're so close to the finish now, and nobody really knows what's going to happen," assessed Hill.
"Lewis won it [in Qatar] but he wasn't leaping up and down in celebration. He was being pretty cool about keeping his emotions in check, as was Max.
"He didn't come out of that race thinking 'Oh, it's a disaster, the championship is slipping away', He thought he'd done a good job with what he could do.
"But the performance advantage was definitely there for Mercedes."