With the season halfway through, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button believe they can still catch Sebastian Vettel
The McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have insisted they are still fighting for the world championship, a claim strongly reinforced when Hamilton put his car on the front row for Sunday’s German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.
With the season exactly halfway through and despite some remarks (later retracted) made by Hamilton after the European Grand Prix in which he appeared to concede the title to Sebastian Vettel, his motivation, as proved in qualifying here, remains strong: “I want to win,” he said. “I don’t need to find that inspiration and determination from anywhere else, it’s within me. I am here this weekend to win or at least have a strong result.”
Equally, Vettel’s recent domination, which cannot sit well with a driver as talented and ambitious as Hamilton, had been somewhat mitigated by Saturday’s performance: “I can’t remember coming across the line in a qualifying session feeling so ecstatic, feeling so energised. I didn’t realise it meant that much to me,” he said. “Our pace and what we were able to do today just again reminds me of how strong a team I have and how they never give up and how we can do it.”
Asked earlier whether it might be time to begin concentrating on next year’s car, Button, who had qualified in seventh, was also convinced the team should fight on: “I am not sure the sponsors would be too impressed by that or you guys, to be fair,” he said, before parodying the defeatism that would surround such a move: “‘Oh, these guys have given up, the Brits have given up'”.
Lewis’s reaction after Valencia, he suggested, had been born of frustration: “We all say things when emotions are high. He had a tough race. We both had a crap race, to be fair. That was two races ago. Now we’re on it.”