Hamilton scraps for points to keep Massa behind him

Lewis Hamilton might have been beaten by Felipe Massa in Valencia last weekend, but all the Briton has to worry about in the next few races is to keep scoring valuable Championship points. Massa, who should also have won in Hungary but for an engine failure, has additional concerns over his car's reliability.

Before Massa's Ferrari blew up with three laps of the Hungarian GP to run, the Scuderia's last major race failure had been with Michael Schumacher in Japan back in 2006. But in the midst of victory in Spain the Brazilian was troubled by the similar failure which took out his team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton lost little time rubbing that in after the race. "We have great reliability, and that's down to McLaren Mercedes doing a fantastic job," he said. "Reliability is the key, finishing and scoring points has got to be the goal for everybody. I'm not worried about the reliability of my car. Over the last 18 months it's been phenomenal. And that means we can focus on developing the car, which is the main point."

For Massa, it is not quite so straightforward. "I'm six points behind Lewis," he said. "But first of all we need to look at what's happened [to Raikkonen's engine]. I have no idea. We need to work very hard for the next race because it's important to fix the reliability. It's been an issue for us this year, in the first race, the last race and now this race.

"Reliability is part of the consistency we need. A single problem and you are not consistent. So consistency is still the key to the Championship. And that means performance and reliability. All these things will be very important to the end of the season."

It is time for a revision to the points-scoring system, which awards 10 points for a win and eight for second place, whereas victory was once worth nine and the runner-up got six. The changes made to dilute the effects of Michael Schumacher's early-21st century dominance are surely no longer necessary. The playing field is far more even.

Even Hamilton, a racer's racer, admits he will be driving for points, as 60 are up for grabs in the final six races. "Clearly I want to win all the time," he said after Valencia, "but I've learned that sometimes it's more advantageous to score as many points as possible and live to fight another day. My aim is still to win the World Championship, and you don't do that by ending up in the barriers after making an opportunistic move.

"In Valencia, we scored a very useful haul of points and I've actually come away having extended my lead in the Championship despite losing two points to Felipe. I'm mentally strong enough to be able to deal with that – and I'm more relaxed about it, too. I'm playing a long game."

Both of their team-mates, Raikkonen and the Hungarian GP winner Heikki Kovalainen, need to raise their games in support of the two men, who have each won four races this season.

If driver's tracks such as Spa-Francorchamps and Monza, respective homes of the Belgian and Italian GPs, do not bring out the real Raikkonen, it will simply endorse speculation that he is considering retirement at the end of a season in which Massa seems to have a strong chance of becoming Brazil's first title-holder since Ayrton Senna.

News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence