Lewis Hamilton is still hopeful his McLaren team may find a breakthrough with its car to get him back to the front of the grid, as he pins hopes on new parts lifting his performance for next week's Monaco Grand Prix.
The world champion endured a disappointing weekend in Spain, finishing outside the points as his MP4-24 struggled for speed at the Circuit de Catalunya. But with the latest raft of car developments due to be introduced in Monte Carlo, Hamilton says he is remaining confident that a sudden leap forward in pace could happen at any point.
"The whole team is working as hard as it can to improve the car and we have some more upgrades coming for Monaco next week," Hamilton said on his official website.
"I definitely think we can turn the corner with this car – I don't think the whole car is wrong, I think perhaps a small issue is triggering a bigger problem somewhere else. And that's encouraging because it means we could hit a breakthrough at any stage.
"We've definitely taken some big steps forward and we've learned from some of our mistakes, too – we're all optimistic for the next few races."
Although hitting out at the pace of his car following the Spanish GP, Hamilton has nothing but praise for the efforts being made at the factory to improve his machine.
"I hope our new modifications give us a huge chunk of downforce," he said. "I know the guys will keep pushing, I'm pushing like crazy, we're all pushing like crazy: when we start winning again, we'll deserve it more than anything because we'll have been through so much to get back there.
"There is a great feeling of solidarity and optimism in the team at the moment, we'll never give up."
Hamilton is sure, however, that until the improvements come he does not have what it takes at the moment to retain the title.
"I'm pushing as hard as ever when I drive the car, they are working like crazy to develop the car but the car is just not where it needs to be for me to defend the title," he said. "But that won't stop us all from fighting hard and pushing to the absolute maximum at every race – because that's got to be our motivation now."