Lewis Hamilton is refusing to give up on his world title hopes for this year, despite his McLaren team's disappointing slide down the order at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The reigning champion could manage no better than 14th on the grid for this afternoon's race at the Circuit de Catalunya and, with Brawn GP and Red Bull Racing looking set to extend their points advantage, Hamilton's hopes of a back-to-back crown appear to be slipping.
However, despite not having seen the kind of progress he had hoped for in Spain, Hamilton is not too downbeat about the situation he had found himself in.
"I think we understood our position and we knew here that we would not have a big upgrade, so it is not a huge surprise to us," he explained.
"We think about the Barcelona test we had here and we were 2.5-3 seconds off, so to be now eight tenths -- we knew this could happen. It is no surprise to us, and for the race we will just do the best job we can."
When asked specifically about his title hopes, Hamilton said: "I think it is difficult to say. Here we have to see how many points we can get, but the title is never over until it's over. As we've seen in the last few years it can go down to the last race."
Despite McLaren's worst qualifying performance of the year, Hamilton's teammate Heikki Kovalainen was sure that the high speed characteristics of the Barcelona circuit were punishing the team's car more than normal.
"I think for sure Bahrain flattered us a little bit, but everybody has some upgrades for this race and we've had upgrades since the beginning of the season," said the Finn.
"We've been improving our car since the last test here by about two seconds per lap. Everyone is going a bit slower now than they were at the tests whereas we are going quicker than the test, so we have improved a bit – but it is not enough yet. We need to keep working in the same direction."