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Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Thursday, 16 October 2008 13:26 UK

Japan crash behind me - Hamilton

CHINESE GRAND PRIX, Shanghai International Circuit
Race: Sunday, 19 October from 0800 BST Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sport website and ITV1
Qualifying: Saturday, 18 October from 0700 BST Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Sport website and ITV1


Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton
Felipe Massa (left) trails Lewis Hamilton by five points in the championship

Lewis Hamilton says he has put the collision with title rival Felipe Massa at the Japanese Grand Prix behind him.

Hamilton failed to score points in his damaged car by finishing 12th, but Brazilian Massa was only able to score two points for seventh place.

The McLaren driver enters the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday five points ahead of Ferrari's Massa.

"We have collected ourselves and we're moving forward," Hamilton said in a news conference in Shanghai.

"Coming here (China) I feel just as strong as I always do and I've still got two races, still five points ahead, and still have a great opportunity to make the next step.

"When you have not such good races there's always going to be criticism. It doesn't matter if it's positive or negative, you move forward, you put it in the past."

Massa cut Hamilton's lead by two points by finishing seventh in Fuji last weekend.

BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica is also in with a chance of the title - he is 12 points behind Hamilton after finishing second behind Renault's Fernando Alonso in Japan.

606: DEBATE
Andrew Benson - BBC Sport

Hamilton accused Massa of deliberately running into him in Japan, but the Ferrari driver does not believe the Briton's aggressive style will be the decisive factor in the remaining races in China and Brazil.

"That is Lewis," he said. "That is his personality - to be aggressive and to always be over confident. That is true.

"It doesn't mean that he cannot be good, cannot be competitive or cannot be strong because of that.

"Everybody knows that he is very strong and these things made him a lot of points. That is why it doesn't change anything."

Kimi Raikkonen, who is out of the running for this year's title, has said he will do what he can to help team-mate Massa win the championship.

"Our goal is a one-two win," said the 2007 champion. "I'll give it all to help Felipe and the team to gain the results we want."

Lewis Hamilton with F1 title rivals Felipe Massa and Robert Kubica
Hamilton (left) has two rivals to worry about - Massa and Kubica

Alonso, who fell out with McLaren during a tumultuous season as Hamilton's team-mate last year, was quoted last week by Spanish newspapers saying that he would help Massa if he could.

And at the news conference on Thursday, the Spaniard was asked about his comments.

"I was waiting for this question. When I said this in Fuji, what I meant is now we have a competitive car it seems we are able to fight sometimes with Ferrari and McLaren.

"First of all we need to have a competitive car in Shanghai and in Brazil to be fighting with Ferrari and McLaren. If we do that and Felipe wins the race and I can be second or third, I will be happy to help Felipe take as many points as possible."

Hamilton, sitting alongside, responded: "I don't really have an opinion on it. I focus on my job and the most important thing is to be competitive this weekend and try to earn some points. I want to be at the front and what the others do is none of my business."

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see also
French cancel 2009 F1 Grand Prix
15 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton hits back at criticism
15 Oct 08 |  Formula One
F1 & Mosley to discuss cash cuts
15 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Hill warns Hamilton to stay cool
13 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton accuses Massa over crash
13 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Alonso wins as title duo collide
12 Oct 08 |  Formula One


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