Hamilton vows to stick with aggressive approach

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The Independent Online

Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton is not planning on changing his aggressive approach for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix despite being advised to do so.

Hamilton was criticized by drivers past and present for his over-aggression at last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix which cost him any championship points. Many urged him to temper his ways if he is to win the title.

Despite his lead being cut to five points going into the penultimate race of the season on Sunday, Hamilton said prudence was not on his agenda.

"When we have not such good races there's always going to be criticism, whether positive or negative," Hamilton said Thursday. "You move forward, you put it in the past."

"Coming here I feel as strong as I always do. We still have two races, I'm five points ahead, we have a great opportunity to take the next step.

"It's motor racing, what can you do? I don't plan on changing my approach."

Ferrari's Felipe Massa is second place with two races to go, and BMW's Robert Kubica — seven points behind Hamilton — remains an outside title contender in third place.

Hamilton led Kimi Raikkonen by 17 points at this stage last season, but a spin into a gravel trap at Shanghai and another driving error in Brazil cost him the drivers' title.

He was accentuating the positive rather than recalling last year's errors when he spoke in Shanghai.

"We make mistakes together as a team and we move on together," Hamilton said. "We were very quick here last year. We should be more competitive here this year with the car we have."

Hamilton and the other title contenders must also deal with a rejuvenated Renault team, with two-time world champion Fernando Alonso having won the preceding two races.

The Spaniard upset some with comments during the week that he would try to help Massa win the title, illustrating the continued ill-feeling between Alonso and McLaren, where his single campaign last season ended in acrimony.

He was not hiding from that view when it was put to him Thursday.

"What I mean is now we have a competitive car and sometimes we are able to fight with Ferrari and McLaren," Alonso said. "If we do that and Felipe wins the race and I can be second or third I would be happy to help Felipe take as many points as possible."

Alonso said he would prefer Kubica to win the 2008 crown, while acknowledging "this is quite difficult because the performance of his car, it will be difficult to recover 12 points."

"When you finish the race and see the results you prefer some drivers to win and some teams to win compared with some others," Alonso said.

"Whatever driver wins, it is because he won the last races or did a better job. You can take whatever from my comments but it's very simple."

Hamilton was unfazed by his hearing his former teammate's comments.

"I will do my job and that's the most important thing," Hamilton said. "If I can be at the front, great, but what the others do is none of my business."

Kubica's title bid is extraordinary, given he has only won one race in his career — in Canada this year — and the BMW is at best fighting it out with Toyota and Toro Rosso for fourth best in the field.

The BMW has relied on reliability more than speed and Kubica has benefited from a points system that rewards consistency more than brilliance. The Polish driver was fatalistic about his championship hopes.

"The two drivers in front of me have much more to lose," Kubica said. "(Renault's improvement) makes my life much more difficult to compete against Ferrari and McLaren," Kubica said. "The last few races have shown anything is possible due to weather, due to the safety car, the first lap accident in Fuji."