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Page last updated at 15:19 GMT, Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Lewis Hamilton retains hope of winning Formula 1 title

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton finished fourth in Brazil to fall 24 points behind Fernando Alonso

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton has refused to give up his slim hopes of winning the Formula 1 title at this weekend's final race of the season.

Hamilton trails Ferrari's championship leader Fernando Alonso by 24 points - with 25 on offer for a win - heading into Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"I know from personal experience the championship isn't over until you cross the line on the final lap," he said.

"I'll make sure I'm up there at the end, pushing hard until the very end."

On the final day of his debut F1 season in 2007, Hamilton was pipped to the title by Ferrari's Kimi Raikonnen at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

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Then, a year later at the same venue, the Englishman sneaked into fifth place at the final corner to lift his first and only championship to date.

This time round he faces a far more challenging - and less likely - task as he needs Alonso to finish out of the points to stand any chance of snatching the crown.

Hamilton is also 16 points behind Red Bull's Mark Webber, in second, and nine points behind Webber's team-mate Sebastian Vettel in third.

"I've been in the hunt for the world championship at the final race of the season on two previous occasions, so I know all about the pressure you feel when the title is almost within touching distance," said the 25-year-old.

"This year, it feels a little different - although I'm still mathematically in with a shout, I'm fully aware that, being 24 points behind, I'll not only need to win the race on Sunday but see the championship leader finish outside the points.

"And, even then, that might not be enough. So I'm not feeling the pressure in quite the same way as I did in 2007 or 2008.

"That's not to say I'm going into the race weekend feeling any less determined or motivated - we've seen before that this championship can be unpredictable and volatile - and I think this race could be even more unpredictable than normal.

"It's going to be a brilliant spectacle and a great event for Formula 1 fans around the world - I absolutely can't wait."

Hamilton's optimism was echoed by McLaren's managing director Jonathan Neale, who insisted the Woking-based team would do everything in their power to secure an improbable triumph.

I think reliability will play a big part because we're getting to the end of the season and people are taking risks. t could be hot, dry and dusty. It's going to be close

Jonathan Neale, McLaren managing director

McLaren, who have been the third fastest car for much of the season, have only five race victories to their name in 2010 - 2009 champion Jenson Button won in Australia and China before Hamilton triumphed in Turkey, Canada and Belgium - but Neale remained upbeat going into the 2010 finale in Abu Dhabi.

"We're going to treat this race like we do every other race - we'd like to win it," he said in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Phone-In. "That will be our objective.

"It's not as if this season has been a calamitous failure, it's been a really close one all year and we will refuse to give up until it's over. We're fighters and we'll continue to do that.

"We've not been quick enough to overhaul the opposition but both Red Bull and Ferrari - and in the first half of the season Mercedes as well - all had very strong upgrade cars and on this occasion we didn't quite get enough to get the job done.

"But I don't see that there's been a failure in our development system. It's been a tough race all year.

Speaking before flying out to the Yas Marina circuit, which is situated in the desert, Neale felt engine reliability could play a key role with so much at stake in the drivers' championship.

"Red Bull be trying to bring last minute upgrades, as we and Ferrari will," he added.

"Rain is unlikely so it should be a conventional race in that sense. I think reliability will play a big part in the weekend because we're getting to the end of the season and people are taking risks.

"It could be hot, dry and dusty. It's going to be close."



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see also
Alonso '100%' confident of title
08 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Gloomy Hamilton writes off title
07 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Vettel hints he could help Webber
07 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Vettel win keeps title race alive
07 Nov 10 |  Formula 1


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