Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hamilton: I haven't given up on this season

Friday 12th June 2009

Lewis Hamilton may be enduring his most wretched period behind the wheel of his McLaren, but that will not stop him from adopting an all-guns-blazing approach at Silverstone next week.

Nine wins and 13 pole positions from 35 races was Hamilton's most astonishing record at the end of his first two years in Formula One that culminated in him winning the World title last year.

Few will ever forget the 24-year-old clinching the Championship with a move on Toyota's Timo Glock in the final corner of the final race in Brazil.

En route to such heroics was an extraordinary British Grand Prix triumph in front of a sodden, sell-out Silverstone crowd, taking the chequered flag by a phenomenal 68.5 second margin from runner-up Nick Heidfeld.

But how fortunes have changed because a year on from a victory he cherishes above all others, Hamilton will be nothing more than an also ran this year given the dud of a car he is currently driving.

Ironically, Hamilton's title triumph is partly to blame because quite naturally McLaren ploughed resources into last year's car to ensure he stayed ahead of his rivals.

In terms of designing this year's model, it meant the team were caught severely short ahead of the biggest rule change to hit the sport for more than 20 years.

Hamilton, so frustrated early on - not least as he was also caught up in the 'lie-gate' saga - has now adopted a calmer, philosophical approach.

After becoming so accustomed to winning, Hamilton has accepted his lot, that this is simply one of those years every driver suffers during their career.

"We have clearly had a terrible year compared to past years," assessed Hamilton.

"We've gone from fighting at the front of the grid last year to fighting to score points this season.

"But my approach hasn't changed. Even if you can't get a good result, the satisfaction you get from racing at the absolute limit is always the same.

"I still get a huge buzz from knowing I couldn't have possibly gone any faster, and I definitely got that feeling in Bahrain, Spain, Monaco and Turkey.

"Maybe the results didn't always show it, but I really couldn't have got any more from the car in any of those races. What you can't see is that I'm really driving well.

"Silverstone will be another opportunity to push to the limit. It's a place where you can really attack, and I'm going to push on every single lap.

"I definitely haven't given up on this season - there's still a lot to prove, and I still love driving the car."

There will be no glory for Hamilton at Silverstone this year, that much is certain.

But in returning to the circuit as World Champion, he knows he will be given a huge ovation by the fans.

"The atmosphere at Silverstone is unique," enthused Hamilton.

"When you drive into the circuit, you see the funfair by the main entrance and all the stands and the fans dressed in team kit and carrying flags and banners.

"I get a lot of motivation from the support of those fans. Last year I remember, despite the terrible weather on race day, seeing the flags waving on every lap.

"It really gives you a lift when you're driving, to know that people are there to support you and to wish you well."

One extra fan on Hamilton's side this year will be Pussycat Doll girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger who he has not seen for over a month due to their demanding schedules.

Hamilton will also become a fan himself as he is rooting for Jenson Button to savour his own British Grand Prix success following years in the doldrums.

In a remarkable reversal of fortune, whilst Hamilton is languishing towards the rear of the grid, Button is now at the front.

Six wins from the opening seven races have rocketed the 29-year-old into a 26-point lead at the top of the Drivers' standings.

How noble of Hamilton then to support his fellow Briton as he said: "Regardless of the fact we're not winning this year, I wish Jenson all the best.

"Hopefully he'll be able to bring it home for the British fans."

Source : Planet F1

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