After crashing out of the consecutive Italian and Singapore grands prix, Lewis Hamilton has vowed a different approach to the remaining races in 2010.
Before his terminal crash into Felipe Massa at Monza, and then Mark Webber last Sunday, the McLaren driver was considered a favourite for the world championship.
But he is now 20 points adrift with four – or three, depending on embattled Korea’s fate – races to go.
“I’ve changed my attitude,” he said in an interview with Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper.
“I’m not looking at the world championship any more. I will try to win the next races but above all I want to enjoy my racing,” added the Briton.
Hamilton’s new attitude may also be explained by the nature of the forthcoming races, with Red Bull and Ferrari expected to set the pace at Suzuka next weekend.
“The types of corners (at Suzuka) will be most favourable to Red Bull,” Ferrari test driver Marc Gene wrote in his El Mundo column.
“It wouldn’t surprise me to see them better than the rest and very difficult to beat. But we will have improvements so you can’t rule us out for the win,” added the Spaniard.
While Ferrari has undoubtedly closed the gap to Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel said recently that the Japanese venue was so suitable for the RB6 that it seems John Hugenholtz “made Suzuka for us”.
“And all the other tracks should suit our car as well. Korea is the only unknown one, but that’s the same for everyone,” the German told Bild newspaper.
McLaren’s Jenson Button, now the lowest-ranked of the five contenders and 25 points behind leader Webber, said before returning to the UK for simulation tests: “Hopefully Korea goes ahead.”
Another concern for Ferrari is engine usage, given that if Fernando Alonso needs to fit another unit before the Abu Dhabi finale, he will take a ten-place grid penalty.
“There is no reason to think too much about it,” a Ferrari engineer is quoted by El Pais newspaper.
“In Singapore Fernando used an engine that had already done two races,” he explained, adding that the difference between a new and old engine is “not much more” than 2 horse power.
© RIF | GMM