Lewis Hamilton insists that he will not be worrying about further potential tyre problems hampering his bid for the 2008 Formula One world championship, despite a puncture limiting him to fifth place in the latest round in Hungary.

Just as he had in Turkey last season, the Briton suffered a costly blow-out when well placed - he was lying second behind early leader Felipe Massa and would likely have inherited victory when the Brazilian retired three laps from home - but he claims to have put it out of his mind as he lines up for the inaugural European Grand Prix on the new street circuit in Valencia.

The race will use the same 'soft' and 'supersoft' rubber as fitted in Budapest, and Hamilton admits that he still does not know the cause or extent of the damage in Hungary, but the points leader insists that he will not change anything to ensure that he makes the finish in a leading position.

"I've not spoken to my engineers about it - that was the last race," he shrugged, "You might want to ask them if you do a press conference with them but, for me, it was a tyre failure, just one of those things. It was a little bit unfortunate, but I don't think they really found the exact cause of it."

Hamilton added that he did not find too much difference between the two types of tyre in Hungary, but had been impressed with the way the supersoft had held up under the longer-than-expected stint he had been forced to run.

"I think the tyres were very similar," he confirmed, "Obviously, I had to change at that time, so I think I did something like 30 laps or so on the softer tyre, but it held together quite well for me - and, if anything, I was even more comfortable on that tyre than I was on the prime."

Asked whether he had considered if his aggressive driving style might be to blame for the failures, Hamilton denied the possibility.

"Why would you say that?" he questioned, "I think, in Turkey, it was more about my driving style, but I don't think it was the case in Hungary. I haven't changed anything since last year."

The Briton did admit, however, that ensuring that he made the chequered flag - and in a strong position - would be a key factor in whether or not the world championship returned to Britain, particularly in a year when none of the leading runners appears capable of stringing together a series of high scores.

"I think we are all pushing very, very hard, it's a closer season than it was last year," he admitted, "I think all the teams are perhaps pushing even more to the edge and that's where you really see mistakes starting to happen.

"This year, there are lots of opportunities to make mistakes and there are lots of unknowns - we come to new circuits, with lots of different things with the car. It's nothing new but, last year for sure, we had... I was looking at my results from last year and, for the first nine or twelve races, it was quite unreal. Who knows? We might have that another year, but I think, this year, everyone has pretty much the same sort of run, especially us guys at the front."

This weekend's venue is one of the new venues that Hamilton included among the additional unknowns facing the field in 2008, but the Briton admitted that his initial opinions of the Valencia street circuit had been positive.

"It is great to be here in Valencia," he enthused, "I had a race here in GP2 in 2006, but this is really the first time, apart from the launch last year for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, that I've been into the city - and it is a beautiful place.

"I think they have done a fantastic job in building the place up. It has got a great hotel and the track looks incredible. I think it looks pretty awesome, so I am looking forward to getting out on it tomorrow."


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment