Lewis Hamilton has shrugged off the disappointment of missing out on the 2007 Formula One world title - even though the destiny of the crown remains in the balance - admitting that he has achieved more than he could have dreamed of in his rookie year.

The Briton went into the Brazilian Grand Prix as favourite for the title, holding a four-point lead over McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso and seven points over Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, but suffered a gearbox problem which prevented him from gaining enough points to deprive the Finn of the title. Raikkonen then survived a post-race inquest into the results, which could have given Hamilton the title, but now has to wait until the outcome of a McLaren appeal is heard before being able to relax and call himself champion.

Hamilton, meanwhile, insisted that he was happy with his first year in the top flight.

"Who'd have thought I'd be ranked number two in my first year of Formula One? Who would have thought I would be leading the world championship going into the last race?" he said on the BBC's Radio 5 Live station, "It's been a crazy year and I honestly can't say I'm really gutted - I'm not. I finished second in the world championship, I beat my team-mate under extremely difficult circumstances, I beat the two-time world champion. That was the goal."

Hamilton admitted that, as well as the mechanical gremlin on his McLaren, a misjudgement on his own part contributed to his result at Interlagos. Having been passed by Raikkonen at the start, the Briton then tried to battle team-mate Alonso on the first lap, running off the road in the process.

"I have not had time to analyse what went on," the 22-year old continued, "but it was my mistake at the beginning of the race."

Eight laps later, Hamilton slowed and could be heard struggling to find a gear on the MP4-22. The problem eventually rectified itself, but the Briton was now down in 18th position and left with a mountain to climb in order to gain the number of points he needed to deprive Raikkonen and Alonso.

"I had the pace to get back [after the lap one off] but, at turn four, the car slammed into neutral," he revealed, "We don't know why yet. It was all against me in the end but I will go into next year and try to do a better job. It is 22 weeks until the next race and I am going to come back fitter, more relaxed, more experienced and I will have a better car."

 

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