Defending Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has compared his current situation of not winning to being like 'not living your life' - as he conceded that his chances of repeating his stunning victory in last year's British Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend are non-existent.

The British star has endured a torrid start to the 2009 campaign, with a car in the McLaren-Mercedes MP4-24 that is aerodynamically poor and patently well off the leading pace, and having to rebuild his reputation after it was badly tarnished by the now infamous Melbourne 'lies' controversy. Thus far he has notched up a scant nine points, when at the same stage twelve months ago he had 38 and was firmly in the title fight. It has not, he acknowledges, been easy to adjust, even if 'every experience is all part of the learning curve of life'.

"I'm getting used to it," he is quoted as having said by Auto Week. "I'm learning to deal with it. This is a huge learning curve. What I learn this year I'll take into next year, and when we have a good car, I'll be even better.

"I live to win; my life is about winning. When you don't win, it's kind of like you're not living your life - but I'm making sure I'm enjoying the driving and I'm pushing as hard as I can. There's nothing more I can ask for.

Indeed, far from standing atop the rostrum as he has done on nine previous occasions during his fledgling top flight career to-date, Hamilton has managed no better than fourth position so far this year, courtesy of a gutsy drive in the Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir - a race in which his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen took the chequered flag a lowly twelfth, almost a minute behind and serving only to underline the Stevenage-born ace's devastating raw speed and sheer determination in the face of the sternest of adversity. In the last two outings in Monaco and Turkey, he has come home respectively twelfth and 13th - but his motivation, he insists, remains wholly intact.

"We have clearly had a terrible year compared to the past years," he acknowledged in an interview with BBC Radio 1. "I've got a great team, such smart intelligent people who every year work as hard as they can to put the car together. Unfortunately, with the rules changing, we didn't knock it on the head - we didn't get it right and the others did. Whilst we've got a great engine...the car's not really willing to go round the high-speed corners very well. We've had the same problems since day one.

"You wouldn't believe the amount of work [and] development that's gone on. We were three seconds off at the beginning and now we're only a second-and-a-half or something off. We've found a lot of time but that costs a lot of money, and with the way the world is we don't have a huge amount of money to throw at it - so we have to keep everything in balance. We are pushing as hard as we can and not giving up.

"The thing is I've been racing since I was eight-years-old - winning has become the biggest part of my life. Every year I'm training hard and preparing myself for these races, and you arrive and you're not winning. Each week even if you don't have a great car you still arrive believing you can win. You're always convinced in your mind until the chequered flag of every race that something could still happen - 16 guys in front of you might crash out!

"You've always got to keep going until you see the chequered flag; for sure when you get to the end it's a bit disappointing, but you know you're not alone. I have a team of almost a thousand people behind me who all share the same feelings, who are all working just as hard as each other. I'm competitive so when you have a tough day you feel it, but you will live to see another day and you've got to get up and fight.

"I have to be grateful for the fact that I'm 24-years-old and I'm in Formula 1, which has been my dream since I was six. I'm driving for my favourite team - the best team - and we all have our ups-and-downs. You have to make sure you enjoy it. Every time I get in that Formula 1 car I always have this grin on my face. It's so quick -it's like no other car you'll get in. Other drivers have had bad years [too], so I'm looking forward to the next few good years hopefully."

Hamilton is also clearly looking forward to going back to Silverstone this weekend - seemingly for the last time, for the immediate future at least - but if he acknowledged that it is always 'special' to compete in front of his partisan supporters, he cautioned that hopes should not be raised too high, especially around a circuit that, like Istanbul and Barcelona, is likely to highlight his car's inherent aerodynamic flaws.

"It's obviously my home grand prix, the most important one of the year, and probably the most exciting and special for me," he recognised. "It's the same for every driver, I think, because you have the support of the fans, you're at home, you feel comfortable in the environment you're in and I've always gained such a boost from that. I won there last year; this year we don't have the pace to be able to win at Silverstone, but I'll still go there and give it my best shot."

"There's so much to look forward to," he added, speaking to his local newspaper the Hertfordshire Mercury and re-affirming that 'motor racing is my life'. "Of course, I won there last year so I have lots of good memories, but my main memories every year are of experiencing the passion of my home fans.

"The fans all around the world are all passionate and fantastic, but there is always that something extra-special when it comes to racing at Silverstone in front of the British fans."

Aside from battling to re-establish his reputation in the wake of the Australian Grand Prix fiasco, finally, Hamilton has admitted that he has also been building some bridges with his on-track rivals, telling the Daily Mirror: "I did keep [myself] to myself at drivers' briefings and I think the drivers took that as a sign of disrespect, but I never meant that and I've worked hard this year to rebuild those relationships."


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