Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Motor Racing

F1: Lewis Hamilton describes his recent form for Mercedes as 'shocking' but remains confident of a strong finish to 2013

Two cracks were revealed to have formed in the Briton's Mercedes chassis explaining why he has been so off the pace recently

Lewis Hamilton has described his recent form as “shocking”, but is confident he can end the current Formula One season on a high.

Since the summer break, which began superbly following his maiden win for Mercedes in Hungary, Hamilton has struggled for pace and results.

The last six races, since a third place in Belgium just after the August holiday, has resulted in the 28-year-old collecting just 36 points.

In contrast, team-mate Nico Rosberg has taken 63 points from the same six grands prix to move to within 16 of Hamilton and with it a chance of finishing ahead of the Briton in the standings.

Hamilton admits to being at a loss to understand where it has gone wrong as he said: "I would say it (his form) since the break has been shocking.

"Maybe it is down to the direction taken with the car. Maybe the set -up hasn't been right. I don't really know.

"I am just as focused, but sometimes you feel you have not been in the right place at the right time.

"In Suzuka (Japanese Grand Prix) we should have had a good race. I was really quick.

"The wing level I had there was really different to Nico so we should have been really good that weekend, but I was unlucky to get a puncture.

"In the last race (in Abu Dhabi) qualifying didn't help and from then on it spiralled down.

"I am hoping this weekend to put myself in a better position. I feel positive for this weekend."

A reason behind Hamilton's form, certainly with regard to Abu Dhabi, came following a strip down of the car in Austin this week ahead of the United States Grand Prix.

Two large cracks, or what Hamilton describes as "a hole", was found in the chassis, which has resulted in the team making a change.

Although fourth quickest at the end of practice on Friday behind Red Bull duo Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, and Rosberg, Hamilton appeared happy enough.

"On the long runs it did feel better, so I'm hoping when the car is heavy with fuel, I would like to think it will be as good as it is now," added Hamilton.

"Fingers crossed it will be better this weekend, but I've no idea if that was the reason behind my recent struggles.

"It's difficult to pinpoint what it was. Sure the crack didn't help - it wasn't a crack, it was a hole.

"But it doesn't matter, it's in the past. I'm looking forward.

"We have two races to go, and all of us in the team are focused on ending the season on a high and taking that foundation with us into the winter."