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Hamilton insists 'all to play for' in title race
30 July 2012
Lewis Hamilton is refusing to give up on his ambitions of adding a second F1 world title to the crown he took in 2008, insisting that he can continue to chip away at Fernando Alonso's current advantage.
The Briton secured a maximum 25-point haul from the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday, leading from start to finish after dominating in qualifying, while Alonso could only manage a solid fifth as he attempted to limit the potential damage to his hard-earned lead. While closest current rival Mark Webber trailed the Ferrari across the line after a strategy call failed to pay off, Hamilton was able to shave 15 points from the gap to the leader, closing to within 47 points with nine races remaining after the forthcoming summer break.
The win was a boost to Hamilton's chances, particularly coming just a week after he claimed that a DNF in Germany was the 'biggest dent' he could have taken in his bid for glory. Despite concerns over Ferrari's F2012 at the start of the campaign, Alonso has yet to post a retirement and includes a season-leading three wins amongst eleven straight points finishes. His advantage over Webber extended to 40 points after the Hungaroring event, with second to fifth now covered by just eight points as the season continues to produce unexpected results, with Lotus drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean completing the podium behind Hamilton.
The Briton, meanwhile, admitted that closing the gap could be a slow process, but insists that he is not giving up just yet.
"This weekend shows that it's all to play for still," he stressed, "[There were] not enough points taken from Fernando, as he still got ten points, but, bit by bit, if we can continue with this kind of performance, we can slowly catch him."
Despite the latest raft of developments having returned McLaren to the front - Hamilton's victory came a week after team-mate Jenson Button challenged Alonso for top spot in Germany - the Briton insists that the team cannot afford to rest during the remaining four months of competition.
"We know we need consistency and we need to improve the car still in many areas, and that, I'm sure, we will do," Hamilton concluded, "The team is doing a fantastic job. We've now got the quickest pit-stops - or usually the quickest pit-stops - [and] today I got the best start I've had all year. This is a really good stepping stone for us, especially after the difficult races we've had over the last three tough races, [and] it's great to come and end the summer on this high."
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