Hill to race with leg fracture

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The Independent Online
Motor racing

DERICK ALLSOP

Damon Hill will nurse a hairline fracture of the leg through the closing stages of the Formula One season and still endeavour to recoup some honour from the wreckage of his world championship challenge.

The Englishman, launching a limited edition of print etchings at Harrods yesterday, also traced the line of the problem on the outside of his knee. "It hurt like hell in testing last week," he said, "but nothing like as much as losing the championship."

The injury, which was sustained when he crashed in the Grand Prix of Europe at the Nurburgring nine days ago, was discovered by Hill's physiotherapist and interrupted the Williams-Renault driver's test programme at Imola. He is adamant, however, that it will not dilute his determination to end his season on a high.

Hill, trailing Benetton-Renault's Michael Schumacher by 27 points with three races and a maximum of 30 points left to contest, said: "It's getting easier all the time and I'm determined to see out the rest of the season.

"Even if it's not possible to win the championship now, there's still a lot to glean. There is a lot of honour at stake. There are three races left and I think I can win all of them. That's my target."

Hill has been severely criticised for not owning up to some of his lapses this season, and he conceded: "I would admit to being too anxious to win at times. I made mistakes at Silverstone, Hockenheim and Monza. But that does not tell the whole story and this season has proved to me I can win the championship.

"What has happened has not put me off at all, and certainly hasn't weakened my resolve to win the championship. No one likes losing, as I've found out. If I can end the season with a winning sequence it will help alleviate some of the disappointment and make a point.

"It will be a warning signal for next year. My ambition is still to win the world championship and the rest of this season can serve as a platform for next year." Hill races next at the Pacific Grand Prix, at Aida, on Sunday week.

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