Lewis Hamilton has admitted his title hopes are now over after miserable Korean GP
Hamilton 62 points adrift after mechanical problem wrecks his race
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 14/10/12 1:07pm
Heading into Sunday's race the 2008 Champion was already facing an uphill task to win the championship on the back of two disappointing races, but a strong third on the grid had given him hope of challenging Red Bull for the victory.
However, Hamilton's race proved one setback after another. He was first passed by Fernando Alonso at the first corner and then, around the time of the first pit stops, started struggling with both his tyres and for general performance, later confirming to Sky Sports F1 that his MP4-27 had suffered a suspension failure.
With McLaren forced to switch Hamilton on to a three-stopper to combat tye tyre problems, the Briton dropped to tenth place and then, to cap a thoroughly miserable afternoon ran wide over a kerb amid a battle with the two Toro Rossos and a piece of dislodged Astroturf attached itself to his car, costing Lewis a chunk of downforce.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after just about holding his 2013 McLaren replacement Sergio Perez off for the final point over the line, a downbeat Hamilton admitted his race had been a "real battle" throughout and that the end result meant his championship bid was finished.
"Well I guess the pressure is now off," he told Natalie Pinkham after slipping 62 points off the title pace with just 100 remaining.
"I guess that's kind of us out of the championship. It's tough because it's so much work from the team, so much work from myself and all the people around to try and win this thing.
"We were still in the fight up until now but it's kind of too far away now."
Team-mate Jenson Button had already been taken out of the race by Kamui Kobayashi on the opening lap and, with Ferrari finishing third and fourth, McLaren suddenly went from eyeing an assault on Red Bull to slipping behind their long-time Italian rivals in the Constructors' Championship.
"We'll keep fighting to try and get as high in the Constructors' and I hope me and Jenson can have some stronger races in the next ones," Hamilton added ahead of his final four races as a McLaren driver.
While McLaren's hopes of winning either of this year's titles are now effectively over, the team Hamilton has pinned his longer-term bid for that second title on, Mercedes, fared even worse in Korea, finishing outside the points in 13th.
Asked if this gave him cause for concern for 2013, Hamilton did his best to insist that he wasn't yet focusing on his new team's fortunes.
"I haven't seen what they had, I'm just focusing on what I've got," he replied.
"We've had three failures in the last three races on my side of the garage so I hope my luck changes and we have better races in the future."