Hamilton maintains title dream

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The Independent Online

Lewis Hamilton is refusing to give up hope of retaining his Formula One title until the maths tell him otherwise.

Hamilton concedes it is a crazy proposition, but the very fact he is even thinking about the drivers' crown is testament to the great competitor he is.

At present, Hamilton trails championship leader Jenson Button by 45 points with just five races remaining, leaving the 24-year-old in a virtually impossible position.

"I know I've been very lucky," said Hamilton.

"For the past two seasons I've been in with a shot at the championship right until the end of the last race of the season, so obviously this year feels a bit different.

"But it's been fun to just push like crazy and try and get the maximum result from the car at each race, rather than looking at stringing together a more consistent title bid.

"It means we can keep attacking everywhere, and I think the last five races should be good for us for a lot of different reasons.

"I might have missed out at Spa (Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix), but I really want to win Monza (Italian GP on 13 September) and see how competitive we'll be in the flyaways.

"The five remaining races are a great mix of circuits, and I'm looking forward to all of them.

"But I'll still be going for it, trying to get every single point I can.

"I know it sounds crazy, but I'm not going to put the title out of my mind until I know that it's mathematically impossible."

Hamilton certainly found himself in an unusual situation in Spa as it was only the third time in his F1 career he had retired from a race.

His first-lap accident, when he was broadsided by Jaime Alguersuari in his Toro Rosso after trying to avoid Romain Grosjean's collision with Button, resulted in a frustrated Hamilton watching from the sidelines.

"It was a really odd feeling to be stood at the side of the track watching the others come through behind the safety car," reflected Hamilton.

"To be honest, I can't remember the last time I failed to finish a race.

"The reliability of our car has been so phenomenal that it rarely happens, so it was definitely a feeling I couldn't really get used to.

"It was a pity because I love racing at Spa and was really looking forward to a strong, attacking afternoon.

"I hadn't had the best of starts and I'd lost a few places, but I was pretty confident we'd have the car beneath us to help us get back into the points."

It is why Hamilton is confident of a strong end to the season as he added: "We know we've taken huge steps with the car since the start of the summer.

"It's frustrating we didn't get to see our race pace at Spa, but we've a low-downforce package for Monza and some more upgrades ahead of Singapore, so I think we'll be in the hunt among the frontrunners.

"The most important thing is we keep learning from this year's car so we can make next year's into a winner."