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Formula 1 News - April, 2008
Criticism and critique amid Hamilton slump

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Apr.24 (GMM) 1996 world champion and countryman Damon Hill has backed Lewis Hamilton to bounce back from his current performance slump.

Despite winning the Australian grand prix last month, Hamilton was the worst performer of the top five formula one drivers over the past five races, a leading F1 magazine claims ahead of Sunday's Spanish event.

In the last five races, including the final two events of 2007, Hamilton scored just 16 points, in comparison with Robert Kubica's 18, Nick Heidfeld's 21, Felipe Massa's 24, and Kimi Raikkonen's 39.

Hill defended Hamilton's collection of recent mistakes.

"Sometimes with a driver who is extremely ambitious, they can overextend," he told The Times.

Hill also believes Hamilton is simply at the point in his career when he discovers that success is not easy in F1.

"It doesn't matter whether you are Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna or Nigel Mansell, it is always more difficult than you thought, and that's the tough bit," he said.

Former grand prix veteran and ITV commentator Martin Brundle believes that Hamilton's position as McLaren team leader this year has put him under immense pressure.

"He lost his composure on the first lap in Bahrain ??- he just thrust his car into difficult situations and was asking for trouble," he said.

Hamilton's McLaren colleague, test driver Pedro de la Rosa, defended his teammate.

"He has made some mistakes," he told Spanish press on Wednesday, "but two or three in a season is normal."

To the newspaper Berliner Kurier, Mercedes boss Norbert Haug also backed the team's 23-year-old British driver.

"Even stars make mistakes," the German is quoted as saying, "and Hamilton has owned up to them. Forget it."

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