Hamilton will shine again, says Ecclestone

Lewis Hamilton has been boosted by backing from Formula One's commercial ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone, as he sets about re-building his confidence at next weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Updated: November 04, 2011 22:33 IST
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London: Lewis Hamilton has been boosted by backing from Formula One's commercial ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone, as he sets about re-building his confidence at next weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

In the wake of another disappointing race in India, where the 26-year-old was involved in yet another incident with Ferrari's Felipe Massa, Hamilton has been "re-charging his batteries" and preparing to deliver a strong finish to a fairly wretched year.

"I think we as a team have every reason to be confident for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix," said Hamilton. "The circuit should really suit the characteristics of our car and we should be able to capitalise on the layout.

"I am still determined to end the season on a high."

The recent break-up of his relationship with pop singer fiancee Nicole Scherzinger, formerly of the Pussycat Dolls, appeared to complete a picture of misery for the 2008 champion.

Yet, despite all of his setbacks in a frenetic professional life and rollercoaster private life, he seemed this week to have emerged stronger -- and ready to regain some of his former self-confidence.

Red Bull's outstanding young German driver Sebastian Vettel, 24, may have led them to a second successive title double, but that has not stopped Hamilton remaining the most talked-about star in the F1 firmament.

And this is recognised by Ecclestone, who needs a fully-firing Hamilton back on form to fight Vettel for the title next year.

"In life you go through ups and downs, and I think he is just going through a bit of a rough period generally in his life," said Ecclestone.

"When life is easy, you get lucky and everything goes well. When things start going wrong, they start piling up and going more wrong. He will get out of it. I spoke to him in India. He is great. I'm sure he will be okay."

In Abu Dhabi, in particular, Hamilton is hoping to make best use of his McLaren car's Drag Reduction System (DRS) and Kinetic Energy Regeneration System (KERS) at the Yas Marina circuit.

"They are both very strong on our car," he said. "So I think I have every reason to feel confident.

"Red Bull and Sebastian (Vettel) may have clinched both championships, but I'm still determined to end the season on a winning high.

"I've won two Grands Prix this year and I'd love to double that by the end of the year. It would also be a great reward for everybody at McLaren."

Team-mate and fellow Briton Jenson Button is the last man to have beaten Vettel -- at last month's Japanese GP -- and he is equally upbeat.

"The championship may not be at stake any more but we're still aiming to win races and put on a tremendous show," he said.

One man steering clear of Hamilton will be Massa.

They have collided in six controversial incidents this year -- a statistic that Ecclestone laughed off as being merely coincidental.

"It is not intentional, is it?" he explained. "These things happen. It is just really strange that it always happens between those two."

McLaren team chief Martin Whitmarsh said he believed that Hamilton's greatest disappointment this year may be the most obvious: his loss of status as the unbeatable man at McLaren, following a fine season by Button.

"If you're honest, the first driver you want to beat is your team-mate," said Whitmarsh. "We don't hide from that and nor does Lewis or Jenson. They are there to beat each other and Jenson's been on a run.

"Lewis is the great exciting driver he is, but he'll not like being beaten by anyone, least of all by Jenson, even though, outside the car, they have a fantastic relationship.

"Lewis will not like being beaten by his team-mate. I don't want him to enjoy being beaten by his team-mate.

"I want him to try and beat Jenson just as I want Jenson to beat Lewis. That's the way they work best to carry the team forwards."

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