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Motorsport | Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton © Gallo Images

Lewis ignores furore to focus on finding form



Lewis Hamilton said on Thursday he had ignored the controversy about the Mercedes 'Tyregate' scandal because he is more concerned about feeling at one with his car in this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.

The 28-year-old Briton, who won his maiden Formula One race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2007, will be bidding for a fourth career win in Canada in Sunday's race – and hoping to out-perform his friend and Mercedes teammate German Nico Rosberg.

Both men have been in form in recent races, but Rosberg has been outstanding, reeling off three successive poles before victory in last month's Monaco Grand Prix – where the furore about Mercedes' alleged illegal and secret in-season testing session with Pirelli tyres, following the Spanish Grand Prix, erupted.

Hamilton, however, said he has put it all out of his mind.

He said: "I haven't been focusing on it, to be honest... I've been focusing on trying to get myself ready for this Grand Prix and today is the first day I've really heard about it. I haven't been reading about it.

"The important people in the team are dealing with it in the appropriate way."

He added that he did not expect to appear before the International Tribunal of the sport's ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA) when the case against Mercedes is heard.

"I don't think that will happen. I've been there and done that before for McLaren, but I don't think I need to be involved."

Both Hamilton and Rosberg faced a barrage of questions in the paddock on Thursday as they were quizzed about why Mercedes chose to involve them in the now notorious test, rather than their test drivers.

Rosberg said it was important for Pirelli that active race drivers took part as Mercedes' third driver Sam Bird had no experience in the team's 2013 race car.

"It is what the team decided and also for Pirelli it is better if we are in the car as it is more representative," he said. "Sam doesn't drive much, so he would not be able to get the pace. Through our laps of having experience of the Grand Prix that weekend, for Pirelli it was an advantage having us in the car."

Earlier, in a statement, the team had made clear that they welcomed their appearance at the tribunal, after being summoned to appear, as it would give them a chance to put the record straight.

Mercedes stressed they were keen to act properly and transparently.

Hamilton meanwhile played down talk of him being any kind of favourite to win the race for a fourth time. Instead, he suggested that he lacked total confidence in the handling of his car.

"It's all in the braking," he explained. "It's just my feeling in the car. I'm confident in the car. The car is great, as Nico proved. You just have to feel at one with the car and I'm definitely not feeling that.

"This track is all about late-braking – and I've always been the latest of brakers, which is why I've been successful here. I've not been a very late braker all year, so it won't do me too well here."

In addition to three wins, Hamilton has also started from pole three times in five races and never been outqualified by a teammate in Canada.

"I've always been strong here in a car that I felt confident in. I have a car now that I don't really feel comfortable in, while it's a great car.

"I can't say that I've just clicked like that. I hope I get in the car and I feel better this weekend. I hope I can take a lot of positives from this weekend. I come here massively determined to regain everyone's confidence in me."

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