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Hamilton: I'm never one to give up

NEWS STORY
09/03/2011

In the face of mounting media speculation as to the competitiveness of the 2011 McLaren, Lewis Hamilton has admitted that while there are problems they are not insurmountable.

"Do I believe I have a car to win the world championship at the moment? I don't. No." he told reporters in Barcelona this evening. "We should definitely have been able to have continued from '08 and won another championship in the last two years, but we haven't.

"Looking at how the car has developed over the winter and seeing how it has come out, I was really, really excited getting into it thinking we really had hit the nail on the head," he continued. "But we've missed that nail a little bit, although it's not like we don't have any other opportunities to get it right."

Having not introduced its 2011 contender until the second test (Jerez), McLaren was already behind its rivals in terms of mileage completed, however, a number of technical problems have also compromised tracktime. Today, he was fourth quickest, over a second off the pace. However, of more concern is the fact that Hamilton completed just 57 laps to Sebastian Vettel's 112.

"It has been a tough day in the sense that we've not done enough miles," he admitted. "I came here hoping to do more laps, to get in a good 100-odd laps, to get in a race distance. Usually at this time of the year this is when we come with pit stops and one or two race distances a day, but we were nowhere near even completing one.

"In terms of how long the car can go in terms of reliability and our true pace, that's an unknown factor for us because in the time we have had we've not been able to maximise things. That's no-one's fault, just issues you have in testing, and this is testing, this is what it's all about, finding where your weaknesses are so you can build on them and fix them. We've been focusing on those, but we definitely have several issues that are not as easy to rectify as we had hoped."

Despite his obvious disappointment, the Englishman isn't a pessimistic as some sections of the media who appear to have adopted Dad's Army's Private Fraser's mantra that McLaren is "doomed".

"As long as we pick up a good few points in the first few races, then we won't be miles behind," Hamilton insisted. "Say for example we were able to be in the top five for the first three or four races, get those points, and then if we happen to have a car capable of winning, then it would still be possible.

"So I'm definitely not shutting the year off. Everything is still to play for, I'm never one to give up. I'm not going to sit here and say the championship is over blah, blah, blah. I'm ready, and when the car is ready I will be at the front and I will win races. But whether that will happen, we'll see."

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