Lewis Hamilton has admitted that his hopes of winning the 2013 World Championship are over after he could only finish ninth in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
A disappointing qualifying performance left Hamilton missing out on Q3, and the British driver was forced to drive a determined race around the high-speed track to reach ninth at the fall of the chequered flag.
He said: “This was not our best weekend of the season. I drove as hard as I could and in the latter stages I managed to claw myself into a point-scoring position.
“Any hope of winning the world championship this year has gone. We can challenge for wins in the remaining races but championship victory is a distant thought.”
Hamilton’s Brackley-based Mercedes AMG Petronas team-mate, Nico Rosberg, experienced a marginally better race to finish sixth. He said: “It was a hard race for sure.
“Our car was not totally competitive here at Monza and it is such a fast Grand Prix you really have to be in a position to challenge straight away. We did learn some valuable lessons and we will take those with us to the next race.”
It was a weekend to forget for the Silverstone-based Sahara Force India team, who recorded two non-finishes for their drivers Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil.
Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo, set to join the Milton Keynes-based Red Bull team next season, finished seventh for the part Bicester-based Toro Rosso squad.
The Australian said: “I am looking forward to driving for Red Bull next season but for now my role is to represent Toro Rosso. I am happy to have scored more points this weekend.” His team-mate, Jean-Eric Vergne, retired early on.
Reigning world champion, Sebastian Vettel, won the race for Red Bull to further extend his World Championship lead.
Standings after round 12: 1. Vettel (Red Bull) 222; 2. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 169; 3. Hamilton (Mercedes) 141; 4. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 134; 5. Mark Webber (Red Bull) 130; 6. Rosberg (Mercedes) 104.
Next race: Singapore, September 22.