F1 »

Lewis Hamilton: F1 title defence is all-but over

Lewis Hamilton has conceded that his hopes of successfully defending his hard-fought Formula 1 Drivers' World Championship crown are now all-but over, after a mistake in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix at the weekend destroyed arguably his best chance of the season so far to shine.

The McLaren-Mercedes star has notched up just nine points to-date this year, as his MP4-24 has proven to be aerodynamically inefficient and particularly off the pace at high-speed circuits. Though that may have limited Hamilton to a lowly and lapped ninth spot at the chequered flag in Barcelona just over a fortnight ago, hopes for Monaco – around the narrow and tortuous streets where he had so famously triumphed only twelve months earlier – were somewhat higher.

Having been a mainstay inside the top three throughout Thursday practice, the 24-year-old headed into qualifying with a spring in his step and the smile back on his face – and aiming for a top five grid slot at the very least. That was until he lost control with eight minutes remaining in Q1, clouting the barriers at Mirabeau and breaking his car's rear suspension, with a subsequent gearbox change relegating him to the very back of the grid for race day and consigning him to a thankless task in the grand prix around a track where overtaking is virtually outlawed.

Now 42 points adrift of world championship-leading Brawn GP compatriot Jenson Button in the title standings with eleven races remaining, Hamilton knows the odds are almost impossibly stacked against him – and he fears a return to Spanish Grand Prix form for the upcoming outings in Turkey and on home turf at Silverstone, high-speed circuits both and therefore likely to expose the MP4-24's inherent weaknesses.

The Stevenage-born ace stormed to one of his most popular and spellbinding victories in the sodden British Grand Prix last year – imperiously taking the chequered flag more than a minute ahead of his nearest pursuer in torrential conditions – but he is slowly coming around to the acceptance, it seems, that the 2009 season is one to endure, rather than to enjoy.

“It's very tough,” reflected the nine-time grand prix-winner, speaking to the Daily Telegraph, “but we all go through it. All world champions go through tough times, and that's what we're going through. I doubt very much whether I can fight for the championship now, but I'll keep pushing and we'll see what happens.

“I won't give up. I'm ready to fight another day in Turkey because bit-by-bit we are getting better, but we're just not as quick as the Brawns. Jenson and the Brawn team are doing a fantastic job this year. Clearly he is in the best position to win the championship, and all the best to him. I'd definitely put my money on him.

“[Monaco] was just Monaco – don't get your hopes up [for Istanbul]. When we get to Turkey it will be an even tougher race because it's all high-speed corners, and we don't have a good car for those. It will be a similar finish to Barcelona, but we will push to get as high as possible. I just hope my car improves and then we can start challenging for wins or some good points.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-24, Spanish F1 Grand Prix, Catalunya, 8th-10th, May, 2009
George Russell, Mercedes junior programme, [Credit: Mercedes]
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Ayrton Senna - McLaren. 1993 Donington Park
Nigel Mansell - McLaren-Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?
French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard
Lando Norris, McLaren Autosport BRDC Awards [Credit: Martyn Pass PR]
Lewis Hamilton tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


May 26, 2009 4:58 PM

PREDICTION: LH to Brawn in 1-2 years. Why? Well, so far LH is exactly duplicating Jacques Villeneuve's career, yes? Yes. Showed up in the best car, drove well enough to win first GP, almost won title in 1st year, won it in second. 3rd year not so good. Then soon on to BAR Honda, now BrawnGP. Then, rapid hair loss.

Fujigas - Unregistered

May 26, 2009 4:55 PM

The derogatory comments about Lewis on here always used to make me angry because it was obvious the majority don't have a clue. Now, they just make me laugh and shake my head. It doesn't matter how many championships Lewis wins, you childish little lot will never rate him. He could win title after title after title, retire, then come back as a pensioner and win another one and you'd still say he's crap. Honestly, you all need to take a long hard look at yourselves because it appears that the only satisfaction in life you seem to get is when you're berating Hamilton. What a sad way of doing. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but this forum has gone to sh*t. Such a shame.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.