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Motor Racing

Hamilton will retain aggression in Japan

Lewis Hamilton is confident the Formula One drivers' title remains within his grasp as he prepares to contest this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver goes into the race at the Suzuka circuit 20 points adrift of title leader Mark Webber after a string of disappointing results.

Hamilton is one of five drivers still in with a chance of the title, along with team-mate Jenson Button, Red Bull pair Webber and Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

Three failures to finish out of the last four races have come close to derailing Hamilton's ambitions of a second world title, but in a season that has delivered highs and lows for all of the title contenders, Hamilton's goal remains achievable.

"This season I've seen how close it is still after many people have had mistakes, it clearly shows that it isn't impossible for me. I still feel very optimistic," said Hamilton.

"It's going to be tough for all of us, but I feel I have as good an opportunity as anyone, so I'll work as hard as I can to finish the races."

Hamilton's failure to finish the last two races - in Italy and Singapore - came as the result of collisions with other drivers.

His tangle with Ferrari's Felipe Massa at Monza went down as an error against the Briton, but Hamilton was rather more unfortunate to have to retire after a clash with Webber in Singapore, which the Australian survived relatively unscathed.

"We're always on the ragged edge," Hamilton continued. "We're always trying to gain a position while staying safe.

"Some of us are more aggressive than others in those positions, some people do a lot less overtaking than others, but you just try to stay out of trouble.

"It's not easy. Racing is racing and there are racing incidents, that's to be expected."

Hamilton also ruled out the prospect of adopting a more cautious approach over the final four races of the season in a bid to get some points on the board.

He said: "I could just go and drive around and not overtake anyone and just stay in position, that's easy enough, but that's not me so that definitely won't be happening.

"My plan is not to arrive at weekends and see how hard my team works and then let them down.

"I'm doing as much as I can and I hope this weekend is a strong weekend."