'Don't rule Hamilton out of title fight' - Brundle
24 July 2013 – Ex-Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle believes that Lewis Hamilton cannot be ruled out of the World Championship title fight, pointing to team-mate Nico Rosberg’s two race wins as evidence that Mercedes has enough pace to keep the British driver in the hunt.
Hamilton’s deficit to current leader Sebastian Vettel currently stands at 58 points, the largest it has been all season. However, although he has failed to win in nine attempts for his new employers, he sits 15 ahead of Rosberg. With this in mind, Brundle reckons that it is too early to count out the 2008 champion.
“There's a long way to go in this championship. Halfway through the Hungarian Grand Prix is halfway through the championship season, so many points to come," the former McLaren driver told Sky Sports. "Lewis is still in there. He's got some points on the board so he's not out of sight already. He's got the pole positions, the victories haven't come his way - two have gone to [Nico] Rosberg of course, his team-mate, who's driving beautifully. So I wouldn't write him off.”
Despite this, Brundle admitted that the Brackley-based squad's absence at the Silverstone Young Driver Test will adversely affect the squad, with the teams present conducting evaluations of Pirelli’s new compound rubber, which will be debuted at the Hungaroring.
"Missing the Silverstone test will hurt them quite a lot because the tyres are fundamentally changing now for the second half of the season," he added. "They will get the data but they won't know how it applies to their car. Even a tiny change in the side-wall of the tyre, or the squash as it's going down the straights when the downforce starts getting applied, affects the aerodynamics of your car. So I think it's going to hurt them quite a lot."