/ 17 October 2008

I’ll do my talking on the track, says Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton believes criticism of his driving style is an inevitable result of his success and said he would do his talking on the track as he chased the world title at the Chinese Grand Prix.

The 23-year-old Briton, who could wrap up the championship in Sunday’s race, came under fire from rivals Kimi Raikkonen, Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli for his aggression at the wheel during last weekend’s race in Japan.

”That’s fine with me. They have the right to their own opinion,” Hamilton told reporters after dominating both practice sessions in Shanghai on Friday.

”It’s a shame they all think that way, but my driving is why I’m here and why I’m leading the championship, so I’m not disappointed with the way I drive.

I do my talking on the track. If other people want to expend their energy thinking about it, that’s for them. As you can see, I don’t clash with people, so they can’t be that aggressive,” he added.

Toyota’s Trulli had said he would bring up the matter at Friday’s drivers’ meeting, but Red Bull’s Webber said after the get-together that it had not been mentioned.

Hamilton said the meeting had gone ”fine” and that he was focusing on the race, not the clamour surrounding him.

”I look at previous world champions and previous seasons, and a lot of people that have been at the front have had these kind of situations, it’s normal,” he said.

”If I was in a Force India at the back of the field, then no one would have anything to say about me,” he added. ”But everyone has something to say about the people who are at the front and are successful, and whether it’s positive or negative it doesn’t really matter.”

Hamilton came to Shanghai last year needing just to finish ahead of his rivals to win the championship in his rookie season but failed to finish the grand prix and eventually lost the title race.

This year, he needs to win the race and hope Ferrari’s Felipe Massa — who trails by five points with 20 up for grabs in China and the final race of the season in Brazil — finishes fifth or worse.

After a disappointing run-out in Japan, where he started poorly, collided with Massa and ended up with no points, Hamilton said he was prepared to wait.

”My mentality is I’m not looking at winning it here,” he said. ”Last year I was thinking it would have been easy to have won it here in this race. But I’m looking at the fact I have two races and it’s important we attack those two races, finish those two races.

”I’m not going into this race saying, ‘It has to be done now.’ I just want to redeem myself from last week.” — Reuters