Lewis Hamilton admits that he simply wasn't lucky enough to drive a series of dominant F1 cars that could have yielded multiple world titles during his six-year spell with McLaren.
The Briton, who claimed the crown in only his second year in the top flight, has since had to watch as Sebastian Vettel erased his name from a lot of entries in the F1 record book, and could this year become the youngest three-time champion if he manages to build on the six-point lead established with victory in Korea two weekends ago. Despite making his F1 debut midway through the 2007 season, and spending his first full season with Toro Rosso, Vettel has already surpassed Hamilton's tally of 20 race wins, and looks likely to add to his 25 victories before 2012 is out.
Despite being a race winner in each of his seasons in F1, Hamilton has yet to better fourth place in the championship since claiming the 2008 crown, and leaves McLaren at the end of the year in search of pastures new at Mercedes.
While his 2007 debut campaign still provides Hamilton with multiple landmarks in the sport, the lack of another championship continues to chafe, particularly as he has had to watch Vettel enjoy the benefit of Red Bull's relationship with designer Adrian Newey.
"I'm very sad that we've not been able to win another world championship,” he admitted to an audience at a Vodafone event in Delhi, “I feel that, as a team, we are good enough to have done so, and I feel that I'm good enough to have done so. However, for whatever reason, it hasn't happened.”
With Vettel locked in combat with Fernando Alonso for this year's title, it might be expected that Hamilton would refrain from taking sides, but the Briton insists that the Spaniard – despite their tempestuous 2007 relationship at McLaren – would be the more deserving champion. While that could be taken as a touch of jealousy as he watches Vettel enhance his place in the sport's history, it is more likely that Hamilton still feels that Alonso is the only driver in the sport operating on his own level.
Any possible head-to-head between the Briton and his rivals, however, was effectively scuppered over the past three races where, despite finishing a hobbled fifth in Japan, his McLaren retired from the lead in Singapore and limped to a solitary point in Korea, leaving Hamilton with a mountain to climb over the final four rounds before he departs Woking for Brackley.
“I wasn't as lucky as Sebastian has been to have a car that's dominant the year [after winning a title]," he conceded, "Realistically, we are too far away to win the drivers' title [this year].
“If we did, through some kind of miracle, then I'll eat my words but, for the rest of the year, it's just to try and help the team win the constructors' championship."