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."



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project