Hamilton: Other things to focus on
McLaren star continues to deflect speculation about his future
By Mike Wise in Singapore. Last Updated: 21/09/12 8:43am
Lewis Hamilton knew one subject would dominate at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Thursday - and he tried to deal with it just as soon as he could.
Rather than face an inevitable barrage of questions about his future at McLaren and the prospect of a move to Mercedes, the 2008 World Champion elected instead to pre-empt his inquisitors.
Sitting down in McLaren's paddock hospitality area, Hamilton told the assembled throng: "Hi everyone. Before we start, I'm not here to speak about anything but the weekend. I've got no extra news for you, so use your time wisely to perhaps speak about other things if you can."
His request was not wholly successful. Perhaps in light of rumours of a cooling in relations between driver and team, Hamilton was questioned about the mood within the McLaren camp.
He visited their factory last week but insisted any change was a positive one - and purely down to McLaren having won the last three races.
"The atmosphere's fantastic. The guys are incredibly geared up to challenge and fight for this World Championship, which is great to see," Hamilton said.
Hamilton wary of Alonso progress
"They've obviously got a great sense that we've had some great performances with these three wins. We're going to push like crazy because we might be able to do this."
Victories in Hungary and Italy have made Hamilton the man most likely to do it for McLaren as Jenson Button's own title push, given crucial momentum when he won in Belgium, appears to have stuttered to a halt once more after his retirement at Monza.
Hamilton's win there moved him up to second in the Drivers' Championship, 37 points behind Fernando Alonso.
THE ONLY PLACE TO BE
Sky Sports F1 HD is THE only place to watch the 2012 F1 season in full live. Our extensive coverage continues with the Singapore GP.
FRIDAY 21st - P1 from 10.45am. P2 from 14.15pm
SATURDAY 22nd - P3 from 10.45am. Q from 13.00pm
SUNDAY 23rd - Race from 11.30am.
Speculation about his future whereabouts reached fever pitch in Italy but when pressed directly on the subject a fortnight later, Hamilton simply insisted his mind is concentrated on the title battle, starting with this weekend's race.
Specifically, he is hoping the high downforce set-up he and McLaren last used in winning the Hungarian Grand Prix at the end of July can be used to similar effect on the Singapore street track.
"I'm just focusing on this weekend. The most important thing is not to get excited about the pace that we had in the last race because it's going to be different this weekend with a different wing," Hamilton said.
Of Alonso, he added: "He said he's going to be bringing an update this weekend. So I hope we have something to combat that. I've got other things to focus on."