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Hamilton eyes the top prize

Can the former world F1 champion recapture his magic in 2011?

Posted Jan 26, 2011 by Shaun Edwards

Lewis Hamilton

After regaining some form during the 2010 season, Lewis Hamilton is aiming to be a World Champion again in 2011, so does he really have a chance?

His F1 career began with a bang, after finishing second in his inaugural season in 2007 before capturing the top prize next year. The 2009 season was largely forgettable for him, as car problems and loss of form scuppered his chances of back-to-back titles. Last season he was paired on the McClaren team with another Brit Jenson Button, and finished fourth, but can he go all the way this year?

The 26 year old started his F1 career in spectacular fashion, winning his first world title in only his second season but since then has struggled to recapture that form. There were glimpses of that Lewis Hamilton during the last season, and this will give F1 fans a lot of food for thought ahead of the new campaign. A lot was made of Jenson Button's arrival at McClaren for the 2010 season, with fans believing that having two British drivers competing against each other for the same team would create tensions. Button was coming off the back of his own World Title win in 2009, but ended up a disappointing 5th place, one place behind Hamilton. So if there was tension between the pair, it clearly wasn't showing.

The high point for Hamilton during that season would have been his 1st place finish at the Turkish Grand Prix, in what could be considered a double victory for McClaren with Button finishing in second place. Like most of his other campaigns though, there were low points as well, the Singapore Grand Prix being the most notable. Hamilton was involved in an incident with Mark Webber on lap 35, which forced an early retirement and a disappointing end to the campaign.

Throughout the season though Hamilton was always in and around the top of the leader board, which will give him encouragement ahead of February's pre-season. It was announced last week that Hamilton will debut the challenger for McClaren at their pre-season camp in Jerez in February. The MP4-26 model will be tested by the Brit between February 1st and 3rd in Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo. Hamilton is set to share duties of testing with team mate Button during the three days, and McClaren are adamant that this challenger can help them regain the World title.

It is Hamilton though who will be driving the new model on February 10 when the action kicks off, which is definitely a boost. Despite Button's more recent World title tilt, it is believed that Hamilton has the more realistic chance of regaining the mantle for McClaren in 2011, this is enforced further by giving Hamilton the model to drive. Despite his young age Lewis does have experience on his side as well,with this being his fifth campaign already.

Whereas Button's success in 2009 was to a lot of people a flash in the pan, Lewis Hamilton appears to be in it for the long haul.

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