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Page last updated at 18:20 GMT, Thursday, 6 May 2010 19:20 UK

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton happy to be in F1 title bid

Spanish Grand Prix
Venue: BarcelonaDate: Sunday 9 May Start: 1300 BST Coverage: Live on BBC One, Red Button, Radio 5 live, online and mobiles
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By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport at the Circuit de Catalunya

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Consistency the key to championship - Hamilton

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton says he is relieved to still be in the title hunt ahead of Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix after a tricky start to the season.

He is only 11 points off the pace, despite team-mate and championship leader Jenson Button winning two races.

"The weekends have looked disastrous but somehow I have pulled something out of nothing," said Hamilton.

"It is comforting to know that I am still so close and all the hard work has paid off."

Button's two victories have come in races in mixed conditions when he made the right strategic call and Hamilton did not.

Hamilton finished behind Button in a McLaren one-two in China on 18 April but could only finish sixth when Button won the second race of the season in Australia on 28 March.

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Hamilton beat Button in the other two races, finishing third behind the Ferraris in the season-opener in Bahrain on 14 March and sixth in Malaysia on 4 April, with Button finishing seventh and eighth respectively.

"Unfortunately they weren't the correct calls in Australia and in the last race and so I've had to work really hard to climb back up the field," Hamilton added.

"Apart from that I've been competitive and the results don't show my true pace. I don't think I have to change my approach - I'll push hard the whole year."

Hamilton said he was confident his time would come.

"I'm not negative about anything," Hamilton reflected. "The way he's been driving, Jenson has deserved it.

"It could have gone either way; those decisions are 50-50 or fortunately for him it's gone the right way. I've no doubts at some stage it will come my way too."

Button leads the championship by 10 points from Mercedes's Nico Rosberg, with Fernando Alonso of Ferrari third, a point behind.

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button
Button has enjoyed the upper hand on Hamilton so far

Hamilton is tied on points with Alonso, but classified fourth on results countback.

With both McLaren drivers in the title race, there is the possibility they could take points off each other, letting another driver come through and take the crown.

That happened in 2007, when Hamilton was teamed with Alonso at McLaren and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen snuck in to become champion.

But Button said he was not worried about history repeating itself.

"I hope personally my biggest rival this year is Lewis," he commented.

"For me that would be the perfect season because it means we have a competitive car. Whether that's the case we don't know.

"We're just getting our heads down and working, we're going to take points off each other, it's going to happen, but that will be the same in other teams as well.

"There are no team orders in F1. Red Bull have two very quick drivers, the same as Ferrari, and I'm sure at Mercedes we'll see a competitive Michael [Schumacher] soon. So they'll all be taking points off each other."



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see also
Schumacher not fazed by problems
06 May 10 |  Formula 1
McLaren target front row in Spain
05 May 10 |  Formula 1
Button pips Hamilton to China win
18 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Button wins dramatic Australia GP
28 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Button joins Hamilton at McLaren
18 Nov 09 |  Formula 1


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