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Hamilton confident despite criticism in Canada 08 Jun 2007

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Canadian Grand Prix, Preparations, Montreal, Canada, Thursday, 7 June 2007

McLaren rookie unrattled by attack on racing style

Despite criticism of his driving methods, Lewis Hamilton is feeling confident that he can keep his world championship challenge on track in Montreal this weekend even though McLaren team mate Fernando Alonso has all the experience of the track and his own is limited to time in McLaren’s factory-based simulator back in Woking in the UK.

Jacques Villeneuve, after whose late father Montreal’s circuit is named, recently claimed that Hamilton’s driving, especially in first corners after the start, is unnecessarily aggressive, “like Michael’s (Schumacher) used to be.”

Hamilton, who seemed rather bemused by the whole thing and who has not drawn adverse comment from any of his current adversaries, said yesterday: "Jacques deserves to have his opinions about it and I can respect that, but this is racing. As you can see, I think it is down to the driver to decide whether it is dangerous.

"If you are cutting across people, being dangerous and possibly taking them out, then I would totally agree. But that has not been the case in any of the races I have seen. It has not been dangerous up until now and I think you can see that it is for the FIA to make the choice."

Williams driver Alex Wurz defended Hamilton, and said: "I think in a way Jacques might find it more and more difficult in the future to find comments he can give that we can be asked about. I see no problem with racing. You know it is hard, you just have to defend your line."

Giancarlo Fisichella added: "I think sometimes Jacques talks quite a lot with the press and... sometimes he talks too much."

The strongest support came from one of the men Hamilton will have to beat this weekend, Ferrari driver Felipe Massa with whom Hamilton has formed a strong and respectful relationship in the five races to date.

"We saw in every race this year a good fight," said the Brazilian. "The stewards are there to see if anybody does anything wrong, and I don't think people did anything wrong. But I don't like to comment on these politics because it doesn't help anyone. For me it (Hamilton's driving) was normal, like I didn't do anything wrong in Barcelona."

David Tremayne