Lewis Hamilton claims to be Sebastian Vettel's only challenger

Lewis Hamilton believes he is the only driver currently capable of challenging Sebastian Vettel as he targets a 50-point haul over the next two races.

Hamilton heads to his favourite race on the Formula One calendar this weekend, the Monaco Grand Prix, invigorated by his display in Spain on Sunday when he pushed Vettel to the limit.

The McLaren star finished just 0.6secs behind Vettel after hounding the reigning champion in his Red Bull for several laps over the closing stages at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

After also snatching victory from Vettel in China with a handful of laps remaining to deny the 23-year-old a 100% start to the season, Hamilton trails by 41 points in the standings.

For Hamilton, if he is to close that gap, he has to win around the streets of Monaco on Sunday and then at another relatively slow track in Montreal a fortnight later.

"At the moment the only person who has an answer to Sebastian is me, and in a car that is not as good as his, and I'm quite happy with that," Hamilton told Press Association Sport.

"There will be times, when it's not at a track like in Spain that is massively dominated by aerodynamics where he is pulling a gap, that I'll be able to pass him.

"We've now two great races coming up, and hopefully the gap will be closer.

"In Monaco we'll hopefully be quick there. It's a downforce track, but we are not too bad in medium and low-speed corners. Maybe the gap will be closer.

"As there are no high-speed corners I don't see where they can gain on us.

"In Montreal I've always been quick there, and again there is no high-speed corners to pull out a gap on me.

"He still has more downforce in the lower-speed, but hopefully we will be able to match them, so that's two opportunities to get 25 points."

But in looking at the standings, Hamilton knows he has to do something, and fast, adding: "He's now 41 points ahead isn't he?

"I'm doing everything I can, but he's storming away."

Through his own talent alone Hamilton can seemingly go no quicker, and instead is again relying on the team at the factory in Woking to bolt onto the car the parts he needs to take victory.

"I'd love to win Monaco again," said Hamilton, who took the chequered flag in 2008 en route to the world title.

"So I'm always pushing the guys - we need this, we need this, we need this - just for Monaco, whatever you can, bring everything.

"But then for every race I'm pushing my team like crazy. I can't imagine anyone pushes their team as much as me.

"I'm always saying 'Please get this bit', 'You need to push it', and 'When's that piece for?'

"That's my mantra, saying 'I need it for Monaco, I need it for Monaco', so I'm pushing them to bring things, encouraging them as much as possible."

Hamilton knows, though, he cannot rely on circumstances such as on Sunday when Fernando Alonso stormed past in his Ferrari at the start.

The double world champion went from fourth on the grid to take the lead, assisting Hamilton by then holding up Vettel and team-mate Mark Webber.

"If Fernando had not been there they would have gone, and then it would have been hard for me to close a gap of 10, 15, 20 seconds," said Hamilton.

"But because Fernando was in front he kept that gap there so I was able to attack and in the next couple of stints I was quickest.

"Again I proved my driving style is not too bad because I stayed out longer than all of them in the first stint, which is good."

But in pushing Vettel to the wire, Hamilton takes on Monaco in a buoyant mood.

"My performance definitely invigorated me," said Hamilton.

"It's uplifted my spirits going into Monaco because you just never know what's going to happen."

Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home