• Briton to keep aggressive style despite recent setbacks
• Hamilton trails the leader Mark Webber by 20 points
Lewis Hamilton has vowed to stick with his aggressive style despite not finishing the last two grands prix after contact with rivals. With only four races left, starting with Sunday’s Japanese grand prix, in the thrilling 2010 season the McLaren driver sees no need to change his approach despite recent setbacks.
“As drivers you are always on the ragged edge,” said Hamilton, who lies third in the standings, only 20 points behind the leader, Mark Webber. “We are always trying to gain position while staying safe. Some of us are more aggressive than others in those positions. Some people do a lot less overtaking than others. You just try to keep out of trouble. It is not easy. Racing is racing and there are racing incidents every now and then, so that is to be expected.”
At the Italian grand prix Hamilton made an error of judgment on the opening lap and hit Felipe Massa’s Ferrari, which put the Briton out of the race, but in Singapore two weeks ago he came off worse in a collision with Webber’s Red Bull when many observers felt he should have given the Australian more room as they were both racing for the title.
“Of course, you want to race sensibly and avoid incidents and I think that’s what we all try to do, but when you’re racing wheel-to-wheel at those high speeds, it’s very easy to have incidents,” Hamilton said. “I could go and drive around, not overtake anyone, stay in position. That’s easy enough, but it’s not me so that definitely won’t be happening.”
It is expected that Hamilton will need to do some overtaking on Sunday in what is forecast to be a wet race on one of the more challenging tracks on the calendar. Suzuka is expected to suit the slippery aerodynamic qualities of the Red Bulls of Webber and Sebastian Vettel and the fast-improving Ferrari of Fernando Alonso, who has won the past two races, claiming the maximum of 25 points each time. Hamilton is relishing the challenge.
“It’s a special circuit, it’s amazing,” he said. “It’s one of those raw, old-school circuits that doesn’t have all the run-offs tarmacked. Some of them are gravel and you don’t get the most run-off area. Some of the corners you put your wheel over the white line, touch the grass and you’re off. It’s the way it should be. It’s a challenge. You get some circuits where you go over the white line and there’s tarmac and you correct the car and bring it back on. This is a much less forgiving circuit so it’s much more exciting and much more of a challenge.”
The challenge now is to eat in to Webber’s lead and that means finishing ahead of the Australian on Sunday is of paramount importance and will start to undo the damage the last two grands prix have done to his campaign.
“All I can do is try to recover and try to apply myself in the most productive way towards my team and towards myself and towards the racing,” Hamilton said. “My plan, of course, is not to arrive at weekends and see how hard my team works and let them down and let my family down, or let my friends down or let myself down. So I’m doing as much as I can. I hope that this weekend is a stronger weekend. I feel good about it.”