• Briton anxious to avoid repeat of Italian grand prix
• The 2008 world champion stays positive
Lewis Hamilton knows he cannot afford another DNF against his name if he is to be crowned Formula One world champion for a second time.
The McLaren driver’s first-lap crash in the Italian grand prix at Monza on Sunday was the second occasion in the last three races he had failed to see the chequered flag, sandwiching his victory in Belgium.
It means Hamilton now heads into the final five grands prix of a five-way battle for the title trailing the new championship leader Mark Webber by five points.
Another “did not finish”, however, could ultimately prove too costly as he said: “I’ve had two non-finishes and one win in the last three races. While that’s not bad, it does mean that I lost points to some of the other drivers in the hunt for the title, and those results aren’t enough to get me the title.
“I’ll keep pushing. I’ll take each race as it comes, but I’ll also be making sure I get to the finish of the next five races – that’s more important than anything.”
Despite running over the left rear wheel of Felipe Massa’s Ferrari at Monza that broke the front right suspension of his McLaren, the team principal, Martin Whitmarsh, stated afterwards that he could see no reason for Hamilton to change his all-guns-blazing approach.
Hamilton is the kind of driver who always rides a rollercoaster of results over the course of a season, as has been epitomised by the last three grands prix.
Appreciating Whitmarsh’s comments, Hamilton said: “It’s nice to hear about the support you get. But in other ways it actually goes without saying as I couldn’t really ask for more support from my team. I know they’re always behind me.
“You feel like you’ve let the team down when you have a bad result, so I’ll be fighting harder than ever for the rest of the season.”
The 2008 world champion has already consigned Sunday’s incident to the past, knowing he cannot afford to dwell on his mistake, albeit extracting everything positive in his quest to repeat his feat of two years ago.
“It’s not the first time my race has ended on the first lap, and it probably won’t be the last, unfortunately,” said Hamilton. “In bad situations, and they’ve happened to me before in my career, you need to soak up all the lessons that need learning.
“You absorb that information, put the bad experience to one side, use the benefits and just move on. I got up on Monday morning and I was already focused on the next race, improving the car, and closing in on the world championship. You can’t dwell on the negatives, we are still in a good position, and we need to capitalise on that.”