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Hamilton optimistic about title chances

ESPN Staff
September 17, 2012 « Mallya not giving up on sixth in constructors' | 'Mercedes offer him much greater freedom on the commercial side' »
Lewis Hamilton: "I head to Singapore full of positivity and optimism that we can take the title fight to Fernando" © Sutton Images
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McLaren's victories at the last three races have left Lewis Hamilton confident he can take the fight to Fernando Alonso over the remainder of the season.

Hamilton kicked off McLaren's hat-trick of victories by winning the Hungarian Grand Prix, followed by team-mate Jenson Button's victory at Spa-Francorchamps and another win for Hamilton in Italy. He is now second in the championship, 37 points adrift of championship leader Fernando Alonso, and is confident McLaren can build on its momentum.

"We're now inching closer to the finishing line - and this is where it starts to get exciting," he said. "After winning the last three races of the European season, the whole team starts the long haul around the world for the final series of flyaways that will determine the outcome of this year's world championship.

"After winning in Hungary and Monza, I head to Singapore full of positivity and optimism that we can take the title fight to Fernando [Alonso]. I enjoy the Marina Bay circuit in the same way that I like racing at the Hungaroring - it's a darty track that requires you to really be on top of the car to get the best from it. It requires more finesse, though: most of the braking zones are approached at very high speed, and the walls are never far away. Factor in the heat and humidity and it's a very challenging weekend.

"Although I had a fantastic win there back in 2009, I've not had the greatest of results in Singapore recently. I got a puncture and retired after tangling with Mark Webber in 2010 and I was delayed after touching wheels with Felipe [Massa] last year.

"Both those races were unlucky for me - I think I need a better roll of the dice this time around."

Button is also hoping McLaren can build on its recent run of strong results.

"I didn't spend too much time looking back at my non-finish in Monza," he said. "Obviously, it was disappointing not to be able to help the team to a one-two finish, but these things happen. What's more encouraging is that we have strong pace on a range of very different circuits - and, hopefully, we can continue to push that momentum in Singapore next weekend.

"The Marina Bay track is unique - there are a couple of long straights, so it's very fast, but all the corners are generally taken in second or third gear, so you're trying to find the best set-up compromise - particularly as you need good end-of-straight speed for overtaking into Turn Seven. That's the best opportunity for passing as it also comes at the end of the DRS zone.

"Every lap is a great challenge: I had a really enjoyable race at Singapore last year. My car was completely dialled in and I was able to push to chase down Sebastian [Vettel] during the closing laps. This year, I hope we'll once again have a package that will enable us to fight at the front."