Hamilton moves on from Massa incident
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
(Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton moved on from his weekend clash with Ferrari's Felipe Massa on Tuesday and conceded that McLaren team mate Jenson Button had got the better of him this season.
Flying in from Singapore to thrill Indian Formula One fans with demonstration runs and tyre-smoking spins in his title-winning 2008 car, the Briton was determined to look forwards rather than back after another controversial race.
"I think for me now it's just to find my ground and improve on the results that we've had in the last four races," Hamilton told reporters at the sponsor event on the outskirts of Bangalore when asked about his strategy for the rest of the season.
"Jenson's done an incredible job...I feel he's done a better job all season, really. So even if I did a better job in the next five races it doesn't mean a lot to me. I mean, it's through a whole year."
Hamilton has been dogged by controversy this year after numerous collisions while trying to overtake his rivals and has failed to finish on the podium since winning the German Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring in July.
Button, the 2009 champion for Brawn GP, has meanwhile finished his last four races on the podium with some typically smooth driving.
The older of the two McLaren drivers is now the only man who can deny Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel a second successive title in Japan next week, even if the odds are almost impossibly stacked against him.
Seventeen points clear of Hamilton with five races remaining, Button is on course to become the first driver to finish ahead of the Briton as a team mate in the overall championship.
The latest example of Hamilton's aggressive driving came in Singapore on Sunday where he clashed with Massa, the impact puncturing the Brazilian's right rear tyre and damaging his own front wing.
Hamilton, who beat Massa to the 2008 title by a single point, was given his fifth drive-through penalty of the season for causing the collision.
Brazilian Massa confronted Hamilton during the post-race interviews in Singapore, slapping his rival on the shoulder so hard that he spun round and then offering a sarcastic 'thumbs-up' sign with the words 'good job, very good job.'
Hamilton then broke off his interviews and left the circuit without further comment.
"I was able to just ignore it and move on," he said on Tuesday, adding that he still had a lot of respect for the Ferrari driver.
Organisers estimated 40,000 spectators witnessed Hamilton drive the MP4-23 car, with India due to host its first Grand Prix in New Delhi in just over a month's time.