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Page last updated at 07:22 GMT, Thursday, 10 July 2008 08:22 UK

Hamilton predicts battle to wire

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton expects a close fight with the Ferrari drivers all season

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton says he expects the Formula One title battle to go to another final-race showdown.

The Englishman is tied on points with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa after winning Sunday's British Grand Prix, the season's halfway point.

"I am sure it will be a lot like last year, when it was just as close between the top three and there was one point separating us at the end," he said.

"I hope it's not but I can only assume it will be at the last race again."

Hamilton conceded that he could be in a much better position had it not been for two poor races before his victory at Silverstone last weekend.

He crashed into Raikkonen in the pit lane in Canada in June, earning himself a 10-place grid penalty for the following race in France.

There, he was penalised for overtaking illegally and finished out of the points.

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"If I hadn't crashed in Montreal then we would have won the race, we would have gone to Magny-Cours without the 10-place penalty and we probably would have finished in the top three and the championship positions would be different," he told autosport.com.

"But that is just the way racing is and that is what makes things exciting."

Hamilton, who started his debut season in 2007 with nine consecutive podium finishes, has not been as consistent this year.

"I don't have an excuse or a reason for why it has been up and down," he stated.

"This is racing. You can't just have a perfect year; you don't have perfect years.

"There are lots of different things and problems that crop up and, as you saw, Ferrari had their problems at the last race but then we have had our fair share. That's racing."

The 23-year-old revealed he had resisted the temptation to party after his brilliant victory in the rain at Silverstone.

Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren at the Hockenheim test
McLaren have been testing new parts, including this "anvil" engine cover
"I was in bed by 11 o'clock," he said, adding that he had gone out for dinner with his family, "and I slept the best night ever."

Hamilton has this week twice set the fastest time of the day while testing new parts on his McLaren at Hockenheim, which will host the German Grand Prix on 20 July.

Most of the other teams have been at the track, including Ferrari.

Raikkonen's chances of winning the British Grand Prix were ended when his team made an incorrect choice of tyres at his first pit stop.

It was not the first time this year that Ferrari have made a strategic error and Raikkonen, who has not won since the Spanish Grand Prix in April said his team needed to start making the most of their car's performance.

"We are looking ahead to the next race and will react without panic," he insisted.

"We know that we have a winning car; we just need a weekend without big problems.

"The speed isn't lacking but sometimes we haven't managed to put together all the elements and have not succeeded in exploiting all the potential at our disposal."




see also
'Best victory' delights Hamilton
06 Jul 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton surges to British GP win
06 Jul 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton shines in Silverstone gloom
06 Jul 08 |  Formula One


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