Hamilton says it’s “gloves off” in the championship

2012 Japanese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Singapore, 2012Lewis Hamilton says he’s ready for a fight for victory in Japan after his championship chances were several damaged by his Singapore retirement.

Hamilton announced today he will move to Mercedes in 2013. In his final six races with McLaren he has to close down a 52-point deficit to Fernando Alonso.

“In terms of the championship, there?s nothing to really be gained by analysing the points tables, from now on, it?s simply gloves-off.” said Hamilton.

“As in Singapore, I?ll come out fighting, I?ll just be hoping for a better result next weekend.”

Hamilton said he’s exciting to be returning to Suzuka, a track he hasn’t won at before: “When I first raced here in 2009, I couldn?t believe a place like this could still exist in Formula 1 ?ǣ it still feels like a proper old-school circuit. It doesn?t have the polish or finesse of an ultra-modern track ?ǣ but is all the better for it.

??It?s fantastically quick, too, and very difficult to master. It?s an unforgiving place, and it also has that special atmosphere that you only get in Japan, for some reason.

??I think that?s due to the fans ?ǣ they?re what make any visit to a racetrack in Japan feel so special. They?re very passionate about Formula 1, but also extremely polite and friendly ?ǣ they make you feel very special every day when you?re going in and out of the circuit.”

Team mate Jenson Button has a special fondness for Japan: “All of my grand prix wins have felt special, but winning at Suzuka in 2011, at the first grand prix held in Japan since the terrible tsunami last March, was an achievement that still makes me feel incredibly proud and emotional.

“As everybody knows, Japan means a lot to me. It?s a place I love, I?ve been here so many times ?ǣ for business and pleasure ?ǣ and I still feel that wide-eyed awe and deep emotion for a country that exists so comfortably on so many different levels.

“Suzuka is definitely a circuit that puts hair on your chest. It?s extremely uncompromising; like a street circuit, it doesn?t allow for a single mistake, punishing you for putting a wheel wrong at almost every point on the circuit.

“But it?s also extremely quick ?ǣ there?s only one line through the esses that make up the whole first section; the Degner corners are blind, hidden in dips in the track, and approached over bumps that jolt the car, trying to unbalance it. Successfully hitting the apex for Degner 1 is a bit like trying to thread a needle while running the 100 metres ?ǣ difficult!”

2012 Japanese Grand Prix

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19 comments on Hamilton says it’s “gloves off” in the championship

  1. Let’s start this.

  2. Hotbottoms (@hotbottoms) said on 28th September 2012, 16:31

    McLaren will without a doubt start to take everything out of their car, and since their car is the fastest to begin with, Hamilton will have a good chance of winning most of the races. However, any retirement now would ruin Hamilton’s championship fight for good and such retirement is likely when a team starts to take everything out of their engine and so on. McLaren’s success will anyway take points away from Vettel, which will help Alonso a lot.

  3. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 28th September 2012, 17:13

    I think Hamilton winning this year’s championship would be an extremely romantic end to his time with McLaren. of course, it would depend on him and McLaren being a pretty dominant force in the final few races – and no doubt he would get a lot of stick for leaving if that happened.

    Nevertheless, I’m stoked for the final few races. Bring it on.

  4. F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 28th September 2012, 17:42

    Lewis Hamilton says he’s ready for a fight for victory in Japan after his championship chances were several damaged by his Singapore retirement.

    should that be “severely”?

    anyway, never mind closing the 52-point gap. he’ll be lucky to score another 52 points in the 6 remaining races – i expect 2 DNF’s and 1 more win, certainly not more than 2. and then he’s off to not win titles with mercedes.

  5. Gloves off? Finishing 5th or thereabouts in the championship is ‘gloves off’?

  6. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 28th September 2012, 18:16

    As somebody commented in the poll, McLaren could stop bringing him updates to protect some crucial information from going to Mercedes. i know, Hamiltonis not a spy but that’s the way F1 works. Let’s not forget Lewis’ little mistake of tweeting telemetry, so he is prone to do it again. That can damage his title’s hope.

    • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 28th September 2012, 20:08

      Nah way too much money at stake. They know their chances against Red Bull, Lotus and Ferrari.
      Next year it could be different.

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 28th September 2012, 21:46

        Agree, and getting a WCC depends on him and BUT both getting great results – best for McLaren would be 5 HAM-BUT 1-2, and the last race a BUT-HAM 1-2 – WDC and WCC, finally there again for McLaren.

        And to boot, they can appear generous for at least letting him leave with that 1 on his car in 2012 while keeping the actual trophy ;)

    • I don’t think they would even think of doing that. After all they still want to win as much as they can, and having another WDC, makes it more likely they get the WCC too, meaning money and success that has eluded them for years now.

  7. andae23 (@andae23) said on 28th September 2012, 18:32

    The 2012 season is unfortunately becoming a bit hopeless for McLaren. It reminds me of the 2010 season: the McLaren boys are doing fine, but somehow they are only 4th, 5th or 6th in the championship. I wonder how long it is going to take for McLaren to realize that the 2012 title battle is between Vettel and Alonso.

    With the definitive 2013 regulations published earlier today McLaren can start focussing on making a good car for Button and Perez in 2013. I hope they will drop their usual mentality of: as long as we have a mathematical chance of winning this championship, then we will keep trying!

    • Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 28th September 2012, 18:54

      The 2012 season is unfortunately becoming a bit hopeless for McLaren. It reminds me of the 2010 season: the McLaren boys are doing fine, but somehow they are only 4th, 5th or 6th in the championship. I wonder how long it is going to take for McLaren to realize that the 2012 title battle is between Vettel and Alonso.

      I say, there are still a maximum points of 150 to be won & they clearly have the quickest car all-round, unlike in 2010, when they were recognised as the ’3rd fastest’ & like this season has proven, despite it calming down drastically with the teams getting to grips with the operation of the tyres & their cars, anything & everything can happen.

      I hope they will drop their usual mentality of: as long as we have a mathematical chance of winning this championship, then we will keep trying!

      I think all teams have that mindset, which team will just give up when what they’re aiming to achieve is still more or less possible? Especially in F1, you’ve got the hunger & passion that fuels the teams & drivers.

      • Jonny C (@loomx92) said on 29th September 2012, 9:57

        If you look at it in the old points system he’s only 23pts behind. Kimi made nearly that back in 2 races ’07. Granted HAM and ALO would need to have a reversal of their luck for the final 6 races, but if HAM can show the pace he has since Hungary and the car finishes races it’s not all over. I’m hoping BUT can actually get on with it and get right in there behind Lewis to boost the team and their WDC chances.

  8. dot_com (@dot_com) said on 28th September 2012, 18:52

    Well he couldn’t sign that Merc contract with his “gloves on”, could he! Sorry…

  9. Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 29th September 2012, 15:26

    “gloves off”, hmmm…Maybe he’s trying for a baby with Nicole?…

  10. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 29th September 2012, 17:49

    Well, they’re certainly the form team as far as performance goes and let’s hope McLaren can provide him with a car that can continue to challenge for victory, which I’m sure they will. I would not like to be Fernando Alonso at the moment.

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