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Motorsport | Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton © Gallo Images

Mercedes remain defiant



Lewis Hamilton's slim hopes of launching a world title challenge this year have been boosted this week by his Mercedes team's defiant rejection of any crisis talk.

In the wake of last Sunday's flop at the German Grand Prix where both Briton Hamilton and his German teammate Nico Rosberg struggled with their Pirelli tyres, the team has declared it will resolve its problems with the controversial fast-wearing Italian tyres.

Hamilton has yet to register his maiden victory with the team following his move from McLaren but has been the fastest qualifier at the last two races.

Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff rejected suggestions that the recurrence of early season degradation problems could still undermine the huge potential of a car that is undeniably fast.

Hamilton proved this when he grabbed pole position at both the British and German Grands Prix, but a combination of tyre problems - blowouts and Silverstone and poor durability and performance at the Nurburgring - wrecked his hopes of a win. But Wolff said: "It is not fair to say Germany was a huge disappointment for us - it was just disappointing... It is not nice to see a car that won seven days earlier not performing in the same way -going from a top car to a midfield performer.

"But we know the car is pretty quick and a car cannot change that much in just seven days! So we know not what we have to put our heads together and use the team we have and find a solution to our problems."

The re-introduction of the Kevlar-belted tyres, after the blowouts at Silverstone, seemed to hit Mercedes harder than other teams and they face being further disadvantaged by being banned from running at next week's Silverstone test.

"We can't run but at least we can have three days of thinking now," quipped Wolff. Team chief Ross Brawn earlier this month said there was no reason why Hamilton and Rosberg could not launch title challenges with half the season remaining.

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