Hamilton tips Button to take his F1 title

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton recognised today that his title defence could last only a handful more races and anointed fellow-Briton Jenson Button as his heir apparent.

"I think Jenson's got a great chance, a great shot at it so I wish him all the best," he told Reuters in an interview at the McLaren factory when asked who was going to win the championship.

"I think if I were to wish anyone (else) to win, it would be him."

Unlike Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who effectively wrote off his team's title chances in Spain last weekend, Hamilton was not about to throw in the towel just yet.

"Everyone has their own ways of thinking and for me, I've got a job to do," said the Briton, who has scored just nine points from five races compared to 41 for Brawn GP's championship leader Button.

"I want to win the world championship, we are a long way behind in points. I've never been as far behind or ahead in points before.

"There's a lot of races left and if the car in front that is leading doesn't finish the next 10 races ... it's never over until it's over," Hamilton added optimistically.

"For sure when we get to mid-season if we've still not scored many points, then we will have to knock it on the head," he said.

"We'll keep pushing to try and win races in the year but clearly defending the world championship is (will be) out of the question."

Hamilton was lapped by Button at the last race in Barcelona, with the Brawn driver chalking up his fourth win in five races while the champion finished ninth.

Next week is Monaco, the glamour highlight of the calendar, and Hamilton won there last year after finishing second in his 2007 rookie season.

He can hope to shine in the Mediterranean principality, and not only thanks to a special helmet with team sponsor and diamond company Steinmetz defining his number one in sparkling gems.

"Monaco will be one of the circuits, at least up until now, where we have the best chances of winning," he said. "It doesn't mean we will, but we arrive hopefully with a better package and able to turn things around.

"This is my favourite circuit, and especially after having won there it will be great to go there again and have another shot at it. But it will be tough for us this year."

Button, a Monaco resident, has yet to win his other 'home race' but Hamilton wished him all the best if McLaren were not in a position to beat him.

The 29-year-old Brawn driver, written off by many after two years spent among the backmarkers with his team's departed predecessors Honda, is living a dream this season.

In January he did not know whether he had a future in Formula One and now he is the title frontrunner with a 14-point lead over Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello.

"I think it's a great story, so I wish him all the luck," said Hamilton. "They (Brawn) are going to have a great car there (in Monaco) so to beat them will be very tough.

"I don't think he has ever won there ... it will be a very special one for him to add to his list."

Despite McLaren's struggles with an uncompetitive car, Hamilton hoped to win races again this season. There are 12 remaining and the halfway point is Germany in July.

"It's just a question of when," he said. "We've been working very hard and I feel I've been driving very well.

"As a team we've done a fantastic job, the pitstops have been great and the preparation for the race weekends and our development has been better than a lot of other teams.

"I'm sure anyone else in our position with not such a great performing car wouldn't have been able to do what we have done until now. So I'm very proud of the progress we've made, but the question is when will the car get better and if it will."

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice