Shanghai: Lewis Hamilton will never forget the patch of trackside gravel at the Shanghai International Circuit where his 2007 world title challenge died, and has no plans to revisit it this weekend.
The McLaren driver’s precocious challenge for the Formula One crown in his rookie season was effectively ended when he slid off at the entrance to the pit lane and got stuck at the Chinese Grand Prix.
“I definitely know where the gravel trap is now so that won’t happen again,” the 25-year-old Briton joked ruefully on Thursday.
Hamilton could have clinched the title with victory in China, the penultimate race of that season, and was leading when his team’s decision to keep him out on a greasy track for a few more laps on deteriorating tyres backfired dramatically.
He made some amends with a commanding pole to flag victory in Shanghai on his way to securing the world title the following year and, as a more experienced driver, said he would never allow a repeat of the 2007 calamity now.
“Being a few years down the line I think I am able to understand and make calls myself,” said Hamilton ahead of Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix.
“But as a team I don’t think we’d put ourselves in that position again. I’m confident that won’t happen.”
With superb drives in the last two races earning two sixth places, Hamilton said he was hoping for a “normal” race weekend to allow him to show the true potential of his car.