Japanese GP: Hamilton committed to McLaren for last six races, and still eyes 2012 title
By Berthold Bouman
Although Lewis Hamilton sealed a very lucrative three-year deal with Mercedes last Friday, the 2008 World Champion has vowed to give it all to stay in the chase for the 2012 title. There are still six races to go and thus 150 points are still up for grabs, unfortunately Hamilton is fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, 52 points behind leader Fernando Alonso, and has a lot of catching up to do.
But Hamilton intents to fight until the very end, “In terms of the championship, there’s nothing to really be gained by analysing the points tables. From now on, it’s simply gloves-off. As in Singapore, I’ll come out fighting, and I’ll just be hoping for a better result this weekend,” said Hamilton.
McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh is confident Hamilton is still committed to McLaren for the last six races of the season. “He’s told me he is [still committed]. Clearly there will be cause to be distracted in the next days and few weeks, and we’ve got to try and protect him from that,” said Whitmarsh.
And McLaren is still committed to support Hamilton, as Whitmarsh said, “If I know Lewis he wants to win this year’s world championship, he wants to win the remaining six races. He’s assured me he’s a McLaren man for the rest of this year and that he’s going to be completely focused on winning. So we are going to try and create as much protection for him and the environment in which he can do that.”
Hamilton was obviously disappointed after the Singapore Grand Prix after he had to park his car with a gearbox failure while in leading position. “The good thing we can take away from that weekend is that we had extremely good pace,” he said.
Whitmarsh agreed, “Despite Lewis’s retirement from the last race, our performance in Singapore was encouraging for the whole team; it showed that we have a car that can fight for victory on a wide range of circuits, and we’re confident of once again challenging at the front in Japan next weekend.”
And Hamilton added, “I think we can really attack in the next few races. It’s going to be hard to close the gap to guys like Fernando [Alonso] and Sebastian [Vettel], especially when they keep finishing race after race, but I’ll never give up.
“There are six more races, and I need to go and win all six. I’ll fight until the end.”