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Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Friday, 24 April 2009 17:38 UK

Season has been tough - Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton had 14 points at the same stage last season

Lewis Hamilton has described his third season in Formula 1 as the "toughest of my life" after McLaren's troubled start to the 2009 campaign.

Hamilton is already 17 points behind fellow Briton Jenson Button as he battles to defend his drivers' title.

"F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport. We've had some tough times in 2007 and 2008, but this year is really hard," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Its hard on everyone in the team, hard on family, hard on friends."

On the track, McLaren have been struggling to adapt to new rules introduced for this season that have helped newcomers Brawn GP and Red Bull Racing outperform their more established rivals.

606: DEBATE
hammydigrassi

And away from the circuit, Ron Dennis, the former team boss who mentored Hamilton through much of his career, stepped down from the Woking outfit's helm in January and from F1 entirely last week.

And sporting director Dave Ryan was fired over his involvement in the inaccurate statements given by Hamilton to stewards in the wake of the Melbourne Grand Prix, a race where Hamilton finished third but subsequently had his points stripped.

However Hamilton is determined to turn the adversity to his advantage.

"It affects your personal life so much, but it has happened and you can't dwell on it. You have to try to rise above it and try to learn from it," he added.

"It's been the toughest of my life I would say. All these things that happen in your life are about growing, so you have got to use it to grow and be stronger.

"I'm getting stronger with those experiences be they positive or negative."



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see also
McLaren make apology for 'lying'
24 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Hamilton not upset by Dennis exit
17 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
McLaren's Dennis quits Formula 1
16 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
McLaren face FIA 'lying' inquiry
07 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
McLaren dismiss long-serving Ryan
07 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
What next for Hamilton?
07 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Dennis plays down McLaren concern
11 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Hamilton loses Aussie GP points
02 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Dennis to quit as McLaren F1 boss
16 Jan 09 |  Formula 1


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