Hamilton losing grip on F1 title

ENGLAND - Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton recognised yesterday his title defence could last only a handful more races and anointed fellow Briton Jenson Button as his heir apparent.

ENGLAND - Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton recognised yesterday his title defence could last only a handful more races and anointed fellow Briton Jenson Button as his heir apparent.

"I think Jenson's got a great chance, a great shot at it so I wish him all the best," he said. "I think if I were to wish anyone [else] to win, it would be him."

Unlike Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who effectively wrote off his team's title chances in Spain last weekend, Hamilton was not about to throw in the towel just yet.

"Everyone has their own ways of thinking and for me, I've got a job to do," said the Briton, who has scored just nine points from five races compared to 41 for Brawn GP's championship leader Button.

Hamilton was lapped by Button at the last race in Barcelona, with the Brawn driver chalking up his fourth win in five races while the champion finished ninth.

Next week is Monaco, the glamour highlight of the calendar, and Hamilton won there last year after finishing second in his 2007 rookie season.

"Monaco will be one of the circuits, at least up until now, where we have the best chances of winning," he said. "It doesn't mean we will, but we arrive hopefully with a better package and able to turn things around." - Reuters

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