Hamilton will not give up hope of title

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The Independent Online

Lewis Hamilton has been forced to defend himself for the third consecutive race after hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

In Monaco, Hamilton found himself in hot water following his highly-contentious 'maybe it's because I'm black' comment after falling foul of the stewards following two accidents.

A fortnight ago after the Canadian Grand Prix the situation was two-fold, with Hamilton drawing scathing remarks for a further two incidents, one with team-mate Jenson Button that saw him crash out.

As if that was not enough to contend with, a story emerged the 26-year-old McLaren star spoke privately with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner after qualifying on the Saturday.

It sparked strong denials from his management, XIX Entertainment, that the talks were nothing to do with Hamilton seeking a move to Red Bull when his contract expires at the end of next season.

Today, Hamilton has been forced to conduct a sharp U-turn on the negativity he expressed in the wake of a disappointing European Grand Prix in which he trailed home fourth, 46 seconds adrift of championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

The 23-year-old German is now a daunting 77 points clear at the top of the standings, prompting an honest assessment of the title picture from Hamilton immediately after the race.

"It's finished really. In the sense of the championship it's almost over already," said a downbeat Hamilton.

The 26-year-old then conceded he was "not looking forward" to the forthcoming British Grand Prix, believing McLaren "really might struggle".

Naturally, such comments have attracted widespread headlines to which Hamilton, on reflection, has now backtracked.

On his official Twitter account, Hamilton wrote: "To all our supporters, ignore what u read in the papers today. My team will never give up & I WILL NEVER GIVE UP!!!!

"Bring on Silverstone, ur support will make a world of difference to us. I'm going to the factory now to do all I can with our team."

Hamilton has to be applauded for his refreshing post-race honesty, giving interviews within minutes of stepping from his car.

With adrenaline still pumping and emotions high, such an effect is like a truth serum and often drivers cannot help what they say.

Butin the cold light of day, and given a chance to assess, a different viewpoint emerges and this is invariably the way with Hamilton.

There was a sense of that creeping in yesterday when Hamilton spoke to Press Association Sport around two and a half hours after the race had ended.

He was still far from happy, but in looking ahead to his home race and asked whether there was a need to put on a show, he replied: "Of course, more so when you are at your home grand prix.

"That's what you'd like to do because people make a huge effort to come, they camp out in the fields.

"It's such an important weekend to them as it is to us, and of course we'd love to put on a great show. We will do what we can."

What cannot be avoided, though, is the inescapable conclusion - as expressed by Hamilton and Button - that their car is in dire need of improvements, notably in terms of downforce and aerodynamics.

Hamilton appreciates, though, he cannot ask any more of the team when they are already giving their all.

"They are doing what they can, working as hard as they can," said Hamilton.

"Can we all do a better job? I can do a better job, they can do a better job, we can always improve.

"But you know, they are on the limit, being pushed as hard as they can.

"The engineers and people designing things back home are flat out, and sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don't. I really don't have any answers to it.

"I pushed as hard as I could in the race, but I just didn't have the car beneath me and I don't expect to have it massively beneath me in the next race.

"We hope it's a bit cooler there, maybe that will play into our hands, but we don't have the downforce the Red Bull has, and now the Ferrari."