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Hamilton ready for Valencia GP

2012-06-21 10:26

FIRST BACK-TO-BACK WINNER OF THE SEASON?: McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, the seventh different winner in as many race, hopes to be the 2012 season’s first back-to-back race winner in Valencia.

 
VALENCIA, Spain - Canadian Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton said he was "super-motivated" to produce another strong performance this weekend as he aims to extend his lead in the world championship.

Thanks to his emphatic win in Montreal, Hamilton heads to the European Grand Prix with a two-point lead in what has been the sport's most extraordinary start to a season with seven different drivers winning the opening seven races.

That means the top four drivers are separated by just nine points.

TWO POINT DIFFERENCE

Hamilton is well aware of how tight things are and how much of a threat second-placed Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Red Bull drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, pose to his title hopes.

However, although the McLaren ace will be hoping to become the first driver to win two races in 2012, he remained level-headed and believes consistent driving, rather than wins, will be the key to winning the championship.

Hamilton said:"While it's always pleasing to be leading the championship, I'm only two points ahead of Fernando which is nothing, particularly when there is a handful of really strong drivers all separated by a couple of points, so there's still everything to play for.

"Secondly, the intensity of the 2012 championship means there's so little breathing space - we may have won in Canada, but there's an enormous amount of pressure to keep racking up good results at every Grand Prix.

"I think that consistency, rather than individual strong results, will be the key to winning this world championship, so we need to back it up in Valencia with another strong result. I'll be heading to Valencia feeling super-motivated to get another strong result and maintain my momentum before we head to Silverstone and the British Grand Prix," he said.

His McLaren team also believes it may have found a solution for Jenson Button, who, in contrast to Hamilton, has been struggling of late, collecting just 20 points since his win in Australia in March.

The two drivers have been driving more or less the same car and although Button has had his fair share of mechanical issues, the 2009 champion has struggled with his car's setup and been unable to match his team-mate's pace.

CHASING RED BULL


However, McLaren's operations director Simon Roberts believes his team may have identified the problem.

Roberts said: "I think Canada was very interesting because fundamentally we run the same car for both drivers and they both have the same parts available.

"Although we allow them to adapt the set-up to their driving style, clearly we had something fundamentally different in terms of the tyre performance and car performance.

"We've been able to actually capitalise on that and there's been a huge amount of work back at the factory analysing the data and just checking that everything was as we thought it was.

"We're pretty sure at the moment that there was nothing untoward with Jenson's car and actually nothing fundamentally wrong with the set-up, but in the subtleties of these cars there are some differences, and I think going to Valencia we are optimistic that we've identified that," said Roberts.

A strong performance from McLaren this weekend could see it overhaul Red Bull in the constructor's standings.

McLaren currently holds a 31-point advantage.
   

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