• European Grand Prix

Alonso and Hamilton dismiss title

ESPNF1 Staff
June 27, 2011 « 'I don't think my future is under question' - Alguersuari | »
Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton have been closely matched this season and sit fourth and fifth in the standings © Sutton Images

Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton both appeared to write off their championship chances after Sebastian Vettel won the European Grand Prix.

With Vettel taking his sixth win in eight races he extended his lead over team-mate Mark Webber and McLaren's Jenson Button to 77 points, with Hamilton now 89 points adrift and Alonso 99. That means Vettel could fail to score in any of the next three races and would still be leading the championship regardless, and Alonso said that the focus had shifted from the title to just trying to win races.

"I'm happy with the performance and the team moving forward from a difficult start to the season," Alonso said. "But the gap is 99 points, a lot, so obviously the championship is not in our calculations at the moment, not in our hands. We just need to take things race by race, try to win the races we go to and just wait for some mistakes from Red Bull.

"But at the moment I don't think we can think of the championship. We just need to see what happens in the last part of the season. We're still eight tenths to a second behind, so anyone who thinks we can win a championship being that far behind doesn't understand Formula One."

Hamilton appeared to echo Alonso's sentiments, saying "It's finished really. In the sense of the championship it's almost over already."

With a home race at Silverstone to come, Hamilton said that he wouldn't be able to challenge for victory.

"I'm not looking forward to it," he told reporters in Spain. "I'm really not looking forward to it. Of course, I'm really looking forward to seeing the fans because they always put a spark in the weekend and make it that much brighter. And I'll be going there as prepared as I can, racing as fast as I can, but we really might struggle."

On Monday morning, however, he did attempt to backtrack over the comments, telling his followers over Twitter that he was not yet prepared to admit defeat in the title race.

"To all our supporters, ignore what you read in the papers today. My team will never give up and I WILL NEVER GIVE UP! Bring on Silverstone, your support will make a world of difference to us. I'm going to the factory now to do all I can with our team."