Lewis Hamilton determined to keep title bid alive

Hamilton believes that his Mercedes team's low down-force package had put them at a disadvantage in Belgium and may do the same in Italy next month.

Updated: August 28, 2013 00:46 IST
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Spa-Francorshamps: Despite finishing a distant third behind Sebastian Vettel in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton believes he can still overhaul him and win this year's drivers' world championship.

The 28-year-old Briton, who started the race from his 31st pole position and fourth in succession this year, was passed on the opening lap and then left trailing by the defending triple world champion German.

But after reflecting on the way the 44-laps race unfolded, Hamilton said he remained confident that he can close the 58-points gap between them with eight races to go.

He said he believed that his Mercedes team's low down-force package had put them at a disadvantage in Belgium and may do the same in Italy next month.

But, after that - in the final seven 'flyaway' races outside Europe - he expected the return to high down-force circuits to suit his car and put him back on terms with Vettel and the Red Bull team.

"We are trying to understand where we missed out," he said. "The guys will work out where we were slower, but Eau Rouge was particularly slow for us - as it was down the straight.

"Maybe we will be able to unlock something before the next race, but, if not, I am hoping Singapore will be much stronger.

"They are different kinds of track from there on. They are more windy and twisty circuits, more high down-force.

"Coming to these two circuits (Spa and Monza) you have the down-force package and you are kind of stuck with it. It either has or hasn't worked.

"We may improve in the next race or be in the same position, but we won't be any worse. After that, we will have the high down-force package we had in previous races -- or improved again. Hopefully it will be improved again..."

Asked if he felt he could catch Vettel, he added: "It is going to be very, very tough undoubtedly. He has had a phenomenal car for such a long time, and it is still phenomenally quick. He does the job, so it is the perfect package.

"We have had some really strong races and been there or thereabouts competing, and finished ahead of him in the past.

"So that doesn't mean we can't do that going forwards, although it is getting closer and closer to the point where we need to finish ahead of him each and every time."

Vettel's triumph on Sunday was his fifth this year against Hamilton's sole win in Hungary, his maiden victory for Mercedes, and the two scored by Spaniard Fernando Alonso for Ferrari, who are also seeking a revival in the title fight.

But Hamilton and Mercedes have taken eight pole positions this year - Sunday's was a fourth in succession for Hamilton while team-mate German Nico Rosberg has grabbed three poles and won twice - to prove they have the raw pace needed to beat their rivals.

Red Bull, through Vettel, have only had three poles this season and none since the Canadian Grand Prix in June. Ferrari have not taken a pole since Alonso succeeded at the German Grand Prix in July of last year.

This suggests that although Alonso is second with 151 points behind Vettel on 197, it is Hamilton on 139 who has the pace to mount a bid to stop the German claiming a fourth consecutive crown.

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