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Lewis: 'It's like a bad golf day'

2011-11-15 09:54

SPARKLING FINISH: No matter that the bubbly at the Abu Dhabi F1 GP wasn't wine, winning was still a sweet moment for McLaren's Lewis Hamiton. Image: AFP


LONDON, England - McLaren's Lewis Hamilton has played down the significance of, for the first time, being beaten by a team mate over the course of a season.

The Briton won Sunday's Abu Dhabi F1 GP on Sunday but left the Yas Marina circuit knowing that, whatever happens in the season-ending race in Brazil, he can't overtake Jenson Button in the Drivers’ championship.

Button is second overall on 255 points, Hamilton fifth with 227.


Hamilton told me after celebrating his third win in a season he has already written off as one of his worst: "It was irrelevant if he finished ahead of me because we wanted to win the championship.

“You go and play golf and some days you lose. You could just have an off day and this has been an off year.

"It's not too bad to have an off year (considering that) I've been racing since I was eight. To have my first off year I don't think is too bad, and considering the stuff I've been going through, I don't think I've done too bad to be where I am."

Hamilton believed his 17th career win was one of his best and, even though the race under the Yas floodlights was no thriller, it set up a potentially gripping finale for Interlagos for British bragging rights.

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh suggested his two drivers, each a champion, would want to make sure they ended up with more wins than the other - with the pair now level on three each for 2011.

"I know they will want to be the driver who comes out of the year with four wins," Whitmarsh said. "They'll both fancy their chances of winning in Brazil."


Hamilton, who's making something of a habit of disagreeing with his boss, shook his head. "That's not the case," he said firmly. "We both want to win but it doesn't matter whether he gets it or I get it. We still end up on a high."

Button, F1 champion in 2009, also played down the rivalry while expressing excitement about giving Red Bull's double World champion Sebastian Vettel a run for his money in the final race.

Vettel, who clinched his second title in October with four races to spare, had his first retirement in more than a year on Sunday. With Button third, that meant that over the last eight races since Hungary in July Hamilton has scored 146 points to Vettel's 158.

Button said: "You have to win races, you've got to get more points than your team mate, consistently, to do a good job on a race weekend."

He said he focused on the thrill of racing Hamilton, not beating him.

"You need a bit of everything and it's nice finishing in front of your team mate over a season. It's not easy when your team mate is Lewis Hamilton because he is extremely quick, but we've had some good battles this year," he added. "For me, I take away the battles and the fights we've had this year, and the competitiveness between us, and we've only actually touched once.

"I'm in a great team here, I'm enjoying myself in F1 and it's nice fighting at the front with other World champions... I'm looking forward to the last race, a good sign-off, and then start it all over again in 2012."


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