Lewis Hamilton says he is not ready to rule out his chance of winning the world championship, despite lying 28 points behind title leader Mark Webber with three races remaining. The McLaren driver is looking to the dramatic late turnaround of the 2007 title run, a period when his own title hopes were dashed, for inspiration.
"It's getting more difficult, I'm fully aware of that. But in a situation like this, I always look back at the 2007 season and what happened in those final two or three races," said Hamilton. "I think Kimi [Raikkonen] was 17 points behind with two races remaining, but he still managed to win the World Championship. I've learned on more than one occasion that the title isn't won until the very last gasp – so I've definitely not given up."
The 2008 champion endured a trying weekend at Suzuka, losing track time on Friday after damaging his McLaren in an off at Degner 2. After qualifying an impressive third, the Briton was demoted five places after his team was forced to change his gearbox. His race performance was heavily compromised by losing third gear in the latter stages, forcing him to use only fourth gear and above.
"It wasn't easy at a track like Suzuka, because it's such a flowing circuit – you need all the traction you can get to keep your momentum up. But, fortunately, because it's quite a fast track, you're not in the lower gears for too much of the lap," said Hamilton. "I was fortunate on Sunday, because I'd already established quite a big lead over the sixth-placed car, so I didn't lose too much ground and could hold on to fifth.
"The good news is that the rules permit us to change the gearbox for Korea without getting another grid penalty."
Despite the recent run of bad luck, Hamilton is clinging to the positives as the title race intensifies.
"One positive is just the simple fact that I got to the flag, scored some points and kept my World Championship challenge on track. We've seen how this year's championship is very much a battle of consistency, so every single point is valuable. I want to win again and I go to Korea believing we can do that. And, who knows, if that happens and the other championship contenders fail to score, then I'm right back in it."