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Hamilton: Championship is 'finished'

After taking the chequered flag a distant and disgruntled fourth in Valencia, Lewis Hamilton fears McLaren-Mercedes is set to 'take another step backwards' - and that his F1 2011 title hopes are now 'finished'
A downcast Lewis Hamilton lamented at the end of Sunday's European Grand Prix in Valencia that his chances of doing battle for a second drivers' world championship in F1 2011 are 'finished' as 'we cannot beat the Red Bull right now, we just can't'.

Hamilton took the chequered flag a distant and frustrated fourth around the harbourside streets of the Spanish city – the first occasion on which he has not tasted podium champagne there. Despite at times looking in-shape to take the fight to Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso ahead of him, the McLaren-Mercedes star's excessive use of his tyres – notwithstanding a number of warnings from his team – ultimately counted against him, and in the end, it was all he could do to stave off Felipe Massa.

Winding up more than three-quarters of a minute adrift of runaway F1 2011 World Championship leader Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton has now slumped to a gaping 89 points adrift of his dominant Red Bull Racing rival in the chase for the coveted crown and afterwards, despite there being eleven of the season's 19 races still to come, he was uncharacteristically defeatist about his prospects of adding to his 2008 title success.

“I am just being realistic,” rued the 26-year-old, one of the favourites for glory back at the beginning of the campaign. “It is finished really, in the sense of the championship. It is almost over already. We cannot beat the Red Bull right now, we just can't. They would need to fall off the track for me to beat them. There was over a second-per-lap difference in the race. That is just ridiculous.

“My mind state now is that I just want to continue finishing races, because Sebastian is pretty much gone. Unless Sebastian doesn't finish the next ten races – which is very, very unlikely – then he has pretty much won the championship. He has won six-out-of-eight races now and he is almost 100 points in the lead from me. I need four race wins just to catch up without him finishing any of those.”

Bemoaning a lack of downforce contributing to a general lack of pace around the Valencia Street Circuit – a track that on paper was expected to suit McLaren's MP4-26 rather more than Red Bull's low downforce-happy RB7 – Hamilton was powerless to watch as Vettel overtook him in the F1 winners table, claiming his 16th grand prix victory and adding fuel to the flames of rumours that are placing the disgruntled British ace at RBR himself in 2013.

“It seems as if we've taken a step backwards in terms of performance, or maybe others have taken a step forwards,” he dejectedly mused, with SPEED.com quoting him as adding: “We just weren't quick enough, simple as that. The Ferraris were massively quicker than us. We were really struggling to keep up with the Red Bulls and Ferraris ahead. I think we were quite lucky to stay ahead of Massa, really. The guys did a fantastic job in the pit-stops, the best pit-stops we've had all year.

“The guys were asking me to stay out longer. I said, 'guys I'm trying to look after the tyres as best I can, so this is all I can do'. I was pushing all the way, but with the tyres I was really, really struggling with oversteer for a long time.

“Unfortunately, [we were] just struggling with pace. I said I would be happy if I was able to keep my position, so I can't say I'm happy. We've not made an upgrade for several weeks now. I mean we've had upgrades – the front wing for example – but we've really been struggling with rear downforce.”





Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
24.06.2011- Friday Practice 2, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
24.06.2011- Friday Practice 2, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
25.06.2011- Qualifying, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 pole position and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 3rd position
26.06.2011- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
24.06.2011- Friday Practice 1, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
24.06.2011- Friday Practice 1, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
12.06.2011- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
11.06.2011- Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
11.06.2011- Saturday Practice, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
11.06.2011- Saturday Practice, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 l
10.06.2011- Friday Practice 1, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
09.06.2011- Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
25.06.2011- Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 3rd position
25.06.2011- Saturday Practice, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
26.07.2014- Free Practice 3, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
26.07.2014- Free Practice 3, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07
26.07.2014- Free Practice 3, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB10
26.07.2014- Free Practice 3, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T

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Googolplex

June 27, 2011 1:07 PM

Lewis needs a good dose of perspective. Perhaps a couple of years with a new team would do him good. Maybe HRT, Virgin, Lotus, or even Williams will help him rediscover that he has so far led a charmed existence in F1.

signups - Unregistered

June 27, 2011 1:16 PM

More in season testing would be good for alot of motorsports (F1, Moto GP) to allow more development. Seems like whoever rolls out the machine with an advantage at the first round carries it all the way through the season. This level of motorsport is about development and technology, and all the new rule changes (regardless of what cost cutting and green banners they parade them under) are just harming the sport and especially the spectacle. The last thing people want is dull races with leaders wininng by miles. If you look back to the 'golden' era's like the Senna/Mansell battles and the 990cc moto gp era, those were rules that worked ! They need to stop messing.



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