Hamilton targets 'fun' finish at McLaren as Brit nears Mercedes move
13:52 GMT, 31 October 2012
Lewis Hamilton is determined to have some fun at the end of his days with McLaren before tackling what he believes will be a tough debut campaign with Mercedes.
Hamilton's slender hopes of winning this year's Formula One drivers' title ended in India on Sunday with a fourth-placed finish behind a dominant Sebastian Vettel, who has now won four consecutive races.
Trailing Vettel by 75 points with 75 remaining, only the mother of all miracles can help Hamilton, but he knows there is no point in clinging on to small mercies.
All smiles: Hamilton has just three races left for McLaren
Instead, Hamilton is eager to simply enjoy himself over the closing three races, starting in Abu Dhabi where he triumphed last year and finished second the season before.
'I said even before India the championship was out of the question, so now it's about trying to have the most fun and having as strong a race as possible,' Hamilton said.
'Even though Sunday's result in India doesn't really show it, I felt it was one of my strongest races this year. I was really happy with it.'
Beyond this season, once Hamilton switches to Mercedes after signing a three-year deal, he appreciates some hard times potentially lie in wait.
'It's going to be tough next season because the current car they (Mercedes) have is not as great as the one I have now,' said the 27-year-old.
Jumping ship: Hamilton moves to Mercedes at the end of the season
'But with a lot of hard work, perhaps a new direction, maybe we can change it around.'
Hamilton also feels there is little he can do at present to try and influence his situation at Mercedes, bearing in mind he will not be in a position to join them until the start of 2013.
'All I can take is my skill and my knowledge of racing,' added Hamilton.
'I don't get there until really late, so any input I can have won't affect us until later.
'For now my focus is on this car and trying to help these guys, although I realise we're quite far behind in the constructors' (championship).
'So let's push for second. That's what we have to target. Let's beat the Ferraris.'
Two good: Hamilton is targeting second place
McLaren trail Red Bull in the constructors' standings by 101 points – with 129 available – whilst they are 10 adrift of Ferrari.
The fact Red Bull can become only the fourth team in F1 history to win three successive constructors' crowns in Abu Dhabi on Sunday is testimony to their engineering skills, especially design guru Adrian Newey, and Vettel's craft behind the wheel.
Hamilton can only admire what Red Bull have achieved these past three years as he said: 'It's no surprise Sebastian is dominating because the Red Bull has been dominant for the last few years.
'They seem to have great capacity to improve the car and Adrian is just a genius, phenomenal.
'I can't even imagine what he's doing. He and his team have structured the car so well.
'I saw the race trace for India, and Sebastian's speed in the first stint, and there was no way we could compete with that, even if I'd driven 200 per cent.'