Hamilton changes mind over title chances

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“Obviously that’s that for the championship,” said Lewis Hamilton to reporters moments after he climbed out of his car at Monza.

A frustrating weekend at Monza yielded just ninth place and two points for the Mercedes driver.

Hamilton’s troubles began on Saturday when he went off at Parabolica during qualifying, damaging his car. That gave him one chance to make it into Q3, which was ruined when he caught Adrian Sutil’s Force India at the same corner.

On race day he clearly had a quick car – the Mercedes drivers set the fastest lap times of the race. But an early puncture made for another setback. Hamilton had to pit twice, and although he made it back into the points his attempt to take eighth place off Romain Grosjean on the final lap was lost when he ran wide.

Hamilton initially described his weekend as a “disaster” and conceded that, with seven races to go and Sebastian Vettel 81 points ahead, his championship chances were over.

But later came a change of heart: “When I got out of the car I was angry, and definitely thought that would be it,” he told Reuters.

“But I’ve been back with my engineers and I’m not going to give up. I basically need to win every race, which is the tallest order ever, but I can do nothing but try.”

Even if Hamilton were to win all of the remaining races, third places for Vettel would be sufficient to keep him 11 points ahead of the Mercedes driver.