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."



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before