F1 2011: Hamilton will bounce back from ‘bad year’

Lewis Hamilton driving in the 2011 Grand Prix of India [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes]

Lewis Hamilton driving in the 2011 Grand Prix of India [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes]

HOCH ZWEI

LEWIS Hamilton’s father has said the McLaren Mercedes driver will be back to his best next season after “a bad year” in 2011.

2011 Grand Prix of India result

1 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

2 Jenson Button (McLaren)

3 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)

4 Mark Webber (Red Bull)

5 Michael Schumacher (Mercedes)

6 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

7 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

8 Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso)

The Formula 1 driver from Hertfordshire had another controversial clash with Ferrari rival Felipe Massa in today’s inaugural 2011 Indian Grand Prix.

Hamilton felt Massa didn’t give him enough space as he tried to overtake the Brazilian at Turn Five of the new Buddh International Circuit.

The pair collided for the third time this season, following their previous clashes in Monaco and Singapore, with the Ferrari man this time receiving a drive-through penalty.

After a number of on-track incidents this season and his recent split from USA X Factor judge girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, Lewis’ father, Anthony Hamilton, admits it has been a “bad year” for his son, but firmly believes the 2008 F1 world champion will return to form next season.

The pair embraced on the starting grid before today’s race in India.

And speaking to BBC One F1 presenters Jake Humphrey, Eddie Jordan and Martin Brundle, Hamilton snr, who now manages Force India driver Paul di Resta, said: “It’s a bad year for Lewis.

“But sometimes in life you have good years and bad years and this is one of the years Lewis is looking forward to getting over and done with.

“And I’m sure next year we are going to have a really strong Lewis Hamilton. In fact, I can almost bet my house on it.”

He added: “You’ve got to go through the rocky periods sometimes and you learn from that too. Things are beginning to smooth out now.

“Given the issue Lewis had with Massa today, he came back and drove relatively strong and that was about as much as the car was going to be able to produce.”

On the collision with Massa, 26-year-old Lewis said: “I tried to overtake and I tried to come out of it because it didn’t look like he was going to give me any space and we collided.”

Tewin’s F1 hero added: “The contact with Felipe [Massa] was just one of those things. I really didn’t feel like I was at fault – it was a racing incident.”

The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ace had to return to the pits for a new front wing after the coming together on lap 24 and eventually crossed the finish line seventh, as the peerless Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag for his 13th victory of the season.

Hamilton’s collision with Massa appeared to cause some additional damage to his MP4-26, further hampering the McLaren star’s chances of securing a podium after starting from fifth following his three-place grid penalty.

He revealed: “During the race, it felt like there was a vibration in the car through the right-handers: it felt like the floor was scraping on the ground, in fact.

“I was pushing as hard as I could, but couldn’t find the performance, so we’ll have to look into that.”

Summing up his first F1 experience in India, Hamilton said: “It’s a disappointing day.

“I’m very, very sorry for my team. They worked hard all weekend as they always do and deserved a better result.”

Despite only finishing seventh overall, Hamilton’s result – coupled with Jenson Button’s second place behind Vettel – secured McLaren the runners-up spot in the constructors’ championship behind the dominant Red Bull outfit.

Martin Whitmarsh, the team principal of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, admitted it was another testing time for troubled Hamilton.

“Lewis had a frustrating afternoon, but recovered well from his coming-together with Felipe to score a very useful half-dozen world championship points,” said Whitmarsh.

“We don’t yet know whether contact with the Ferrari caused damage to Lewis’s car – other than to the nosecone, obviously, which we changed in the pits – but, as I say, as a result of the 24 world championship points that he and Jenson notched up today, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has now secured second place in the 2011 Constructors’ World Championship.

“It’s always our aim to go one better than that – to win – and second isn’t good enough, but we’re pleased to have consolidated that position nonetheless.”

The F1 circus heads to Abu Dhabi next month for the penultimate race of the 2011 grand prix season.


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