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Hamilton: The 'what ifs' don't matter

Firmly intent on looking ahead rather than behind, Lewis Hamilton insists the 'what ifs' of F1 2010 are now academic - as he warns Red Bull Racing that he and McLaren-Mercedes will be out to steal their thunder next year
Lewis Hamilton is refusing to look back and mull over where his challenge for the F1 2010 title went wrong – but is focussing rather on the 'very positive' atmosphere at McLaren-Mercedes that he hopes will serve to galvanise the team over the winter months so that they can come back 'even hungrier' and be 'aggressive' out-of-the-box next year in pursuit of both the drivers' and constructors' coveted crowns.

Hamilton did all that could possibly have been asked of him in last weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale, qualifying on the front row of the grid – and indeed, missing pole position by a mere whisker – and then going on to harry race leader and eventual world champion Sebastian Vettel for all he was worth on race day, in what was unquestionably an inferior car.

Finding himself trapped behind Renault's Robert Kubica following his pit-stop on lap 23 arguably cost the 2008 title-winner his chance to fight for the highest step of the podium, as Vettel conversely made good his escape – but still, second place was a magnificent achievement in the circumstances and testament to Hamilton's gritty, indefatigable fighting spirit even when the odds seem impossibly stacked against him.

Had he succeeded in grabbing the top spot on the starting grid, indeed, it could very well have been the British star toasting victory in the last race of the year, and with it third place in the final standings rather than fourth – but then, as Hamilton concedes, the 'what ifs' are futile now.

“We had a great car in Abu Dhabi,” he told his personal website. “It was probably the best car we'd had all season – the balance was just perfect, the car felt strong in the high and low-speed corners and the tyre degradation was good, so I felt like I could push on every lap.

“Unfortunately, I came out just behind Robert Kubica after my tyre stop, and it was just too difficult to make a pass stick around this place, even though I gave it my absolute best effort. That's not to say we got the strategy wrong – because I don't think we did – just that the Renault had incredible top speed, Robert drove a rock-solid race and the circuit layout made it really, really tricky to try and get up the inside anywhere and put my car in a place where he couldn't defend. Perhaps that's something that the designers could look at for next year, because it would make the circuit a better challenge for all the drivers.

“Once I was clear of Robert, I had the pace to match Sebastian – I just didn't have enough laps to catch him. I don't want to take anything away from him, though; he drove a faultless race and is an extremely worthy world champion.

“We saw throughout the summer that the Red Bull was the car to beat, and even though we brought a lot of developments to every race, it became clear that they were able to react equally, and that made it extremely hard for us to close the gap.

“Of course, my non-finishes at Monza and in Singapore didn't help my momentum, but that was also true of my mechanical retirements in Spain and Hungary. Overall, I don't think it's worthwhile to look at the 'what ifs' of a season, because every driver has moments when he could have done better, or would have done something different, so you just have to accept what you have and make the best of it.





Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Qualifying, Press conference, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Friday Practice 1, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Friday Practice 2, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Saturday Practice, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Friday Practice 1, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB6 race winner and 2010 Champion with Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 2nd position
Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB6 race winner and 2010 champion, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 2nd position and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 3rd position
Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 2nd position and Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB6 race winner and champion 2010
Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB6 race winner and Champion 2010, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 2nd position and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 3rd position
Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Thursday, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Friday Practice 1, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
27.07.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
27.07.2014- Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
27.07.2014- Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB10
27.07.2014- Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB10
27.07.2014- Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB10

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Alan D - Unregistered

November 18, 2010 12:56 PM

Its a shame that there are only three cars capable of winning races. At the start of the season I was optimistic that Renault might get at least one win, likewise for Mercedes, and thought there was a good chance that maybe a Williams could pick up a surprise win. As it turned out, a Williams getting a pole position was the only surprise. I also thought we could have up to 10 drivers winning races, those being the two Ferraris, two Mclarens, two Red Bulls, two Mercedes, Kubica, and possibly a win in unusual circumstances from someone like Rubens, Sutil or even Kobayashi. Massa probably could have won Hockenheim, but outside the top six, the others just didn't look likely. Strangely, if we'd had BErnie's gold medal system to encourage drivers to drive for wins, we'd still have exactly the same result in the top five. Alonso and Vettel both have five wins, two second places, but Vettel has three thirds to Alonso's two.

jose - Unregistered

November 18, 2010 2:59 PM

Lewis is spot on, this what-if, I could have, Luck, or any other who shot John thing is pure, Bull. That was yesterday. That type of noise has no bearing on what will happen in 2011. Jose



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