Formula 1 News

Title hopes over, say McLaren duo

Lewis Hamilton struggled to come up with a tenth-place finish while his teammate Jenson Button had to retire after just two turns into the race.
Sunday, October 14, 2012

Yeongam, South Korea, Oct 14, 2012 (AFP / Peter Stebbings) - Lewis Hamilton and McLaren team-mate Jenson Button conceded that their championship chances were gone after a difficult weekend in South Korea ended in farce and anger on Sunday.

Button was rammed out on the first lap and Lewis Hamilton limped home in 10th, gaining just a solitary point in a title race that looks now to be between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.

Their bad weekend also means the Britain-based outfit have fallen to third in the constructors' championship behind Ferrari.

"I was just told by the team that we had a rear-suspension failure, but it was safe to drive so they kept me going," said former world champion Hamilton, who also had some artificial turf trapped under his car for the last portion of the race.

"It was tricky to even keep 10th place," added Hamilton, who will make a high-profile move to Mercedes next season. Despite starting third on the grid the Briton was soon overtaken by Alonso, and he struggled for pace throughout.

Of the suspension failure, he said: "I was trying my best with it, but it was very hard. We have races like this, I guess."

He added: "In terms of winning the world championship, logic suggests that that's probably it for me. Having said that, there are a lot of points still up for grabs, so I'll keep pushing. Stranger things have happened, and I'll never give up."

Hamilton is fourth in the drivers' standings on 153 points, while Button has 131. Vettel tops the lot with 215 points with four races to go.

Button only qualified 11th quickest on Saturday and his good start in the race was wrecked when Kamui Kobayashi came flying down the inside, smashing into Button and destroying his suspension.

"I've just been hit by Kobayashi. What an idiot!" the McLaren driver and 2009 world champion exclaimed over the team radio.

"It's extremely disappointing. This is a long race, with so much opportunity for everyone. It's a great circuit for overtaking, so it's
surprising to see people behaving like that on the first lap," he said of Kobayashi.

"I no longer have a realistic chance to win the world championship, so I'll be enjoying myself over the final four races. Scoring points for the team in the constructors' world championship will be the most important priority, so I'll be focusing on picking up as many as I possibly can."

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal, looked on the bright side.

"Lewis may have scored only a single world championship point this afternoon, but I'm happy to be quoted as saying that it was probably the hardest won and most heroically fought world championship point in McLaren's long history," he said.

"As for Jenson, well, what can I say? He made a very good start and would, I'm sure, have driven a great race this afternoon.

"But he wasn't given the chance to show what he could have done because he was taken out, hit from behind, through no fault of his own."

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