Hamilton optimistic ahead of 100th race
Date published : 22 Jul 2012 - 12:16:49
As brighter and more settled weather promised a dry race ahead in Sunday's German Grand Prix so Lewis Hamilton's optimism remained intact ahead of his 100th Formula One contest.
Unfussed by the bother that surrounded rivals Red Bull, whose cars were under investigation for engine mapping irregularities, Hamilton conceded that starting seventh on the grid was not ideal - but that he could still make an impact to keep his challenge for a second drivers world title alive.
"It just feels so unreal to think that I have done 100 grands prix, it just feels surreal to me. Of course it means something -- to get to 100 is important.
"I didn't notice my 10th, my 20th, my 50th, or any of the others. It just went by so quickly. When you're having a good time, time flies by. And the years have gone by very quickly.
"I'm in my sixth year of Formula One and that's insane. It feels like it's gone quicker than my Formula Renault years, Formula 3, and GP2. My six years in Formula 1 feels as long as my two years in F3.
"It feels very similar to that, but obviously it's a lot more races. It's great, and hopefully I have many more races to do in the future."
Asked about this weekend's race and the title bid, he said he remained confident of mounting a serious challenge despite a mid-season slump in McLaren's form.
"I definitely feel I can do it," he said. ~Of course, we should have won many, many more races this year but we are only at the 10th grand prix out of 20.
"We still have so far to go. If we keep pushing hopefully we'll be rewarded. I have a lot of faith in this team, it's like a family, I have been here since I was 13-years-old and I know anything different would feel very abnormal."
McLaren have brought a significant upgrades package to the German race, much to Hamilton's delight.
"The team have been under a lot of pressure to bring upgrades and we've got some this weekend that I hope will put us back in the fight. They have definitely made the car better than it was."
Hamilton was a focus for paddock gossip because he is the only title contender without a confirmed seat for next year, but he brushed that aside on Thursday when he hinted he will stay with McLaren.
"You have to remain hopeful, you have to believe there is a plan," he added. "I believe God has a plan for me. I don't know what it is. There are lots of things that come round and I think: 'What the hell is going on?'
"But I'm massively blessed in my life. I am enjoying life, I am enjoying the experiences, even the not so good ones, because I feel myself growing, I feel myself maturing.
"I feel myself make bad decisions and then improve and make stronger ones."
Hamilton starts from seventh on the grid behind his McLaren team-mate and fellow-Briton Jenson Button for the first time this year.
Spanish championship leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari starts from pole with defending champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull second ahead of two more Germans seven-time champion Michael Schumacher of Mercedes and Force India's Nico Hulkenberg.