Lewis Hamilton has claimed that this year's unusual Formula One title battle is different to his own pursuit of the 2008 crown, with none of the expected frontrunners involved making it a 'unique situation'.
While not denigrating the likely scrap between countryman Jenson Button and Red Bull rival Sebastian Vettel, which appears to be brewing after the German's comfortable victory at Silverstone three weeks ago, Hamilton insists that the shake-up brought about by the various rule changes introduced for 2009 has produced 'a slightly different championship'.
"It is a unique situation," he told the official F1 website, "All I can say is that, when you are having a championship where you are competing against everyone - the best drivers that is - that's a championship. When you don't have all the top drivers competing with you and hunting you down, this is a slightly different championship.
"Jenson is a long way ahead - he hasn't got Felipe [Massa] on his tail, or Kimi [Raikkonen], or Fernando [Alonso] or me. What we see this year is a slightly different championship."
Having already accepted that the F1 crown would not be sitting on his head for a second season, Hamilton has turned his attention to gaining strength through adversity, even though he refuses to rule out a return to the front as McLaren continues to work on its recalcitrant MP4-24.
"Obviously the year so far hasn't been fantastic," the Briton admits, "It's a learning year and, hopefully, I can take what I've learned this year on to next year. It is a character building year.
"I never would have dreamed that the car could be the way it is, simply because McLaren builds great cars. But everyone has bad years and makes mistakes once in a while and has bad times, and this is definitely one of those.
"I miss it every single day and am hoping that we get our first win [of 2009] at some stage - or at least aim for a high points or podium finish. I hope we make some improvements to the car [for the German Grand Prix] and I hope they take us get further up the grid and to be challenging for some points. The weather forecast is pretty bad, so I could imagine that this could be a good weekend for us."