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Hamilton concedes title hope hanging by thread

A stunned Lewis Hamilton left Singapore last night fearing for his Formula One championship hopes.

For the second successive race, and third time in the last four grands prix, Hamilton suffered a retirement.

In Hungary he walked away with nothing after his McLaren suffered a gearbox failure and then, in Italy a fortnight ago, a mistake of his own cost him dear as he crashed into Ferrari's Felipe Massa on the opening lap.

In yesterday's Singapore Grand Prix, it was championship leader Mark Webber who ran into the Briton on lap 36, with the stewards later determining it was simply a racing incident.

It was Hamilton's car which came off worse when his left-rear tyre punctured in the accident, while Webber's Red Bull was afflicted with nothing more than vibrations.

It was a pretty despondent Hamilton who spoke after the race as he now trails Webber by 20 points, while he is also nine behind Ferrari's pole-to-flag race winner Fernando Alonso.

"There are still four races to go, but I was not expecting what has happened in these last two races, especially at this crucial point in the year," said 2008 champion Hamilton.

"I'll do what I can, but 20 points is massive. That's a big gap.

"I really have to keep my head down and hope for something. I've got to try and enjoy the rest of the season, and whatever happens will happen.

"I'll keep fighting to the end, but we're a long way behind now. It's going to be a hard struggle for the next four races."