McLaren's Lewis Hamilton came out fighting on Monday, a day after he gloomily declared the Formula One title battle almost over, and promised fans he would never give up despite the odds against him.
"To all our supporters, ignore what u read in the papers today," the 2008 world champion declared on his Twitter feed. "My team will never give up & I WILL NEVER GIVE UP!!!!"
Hamilton had been far less feisty after Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel won Sunday's European Grand Prix, the champion and runaway leader's sixth victory in eight races.
The German now has a 77 point lead over McLaren's Jenson Button and his own Australian team mate Mark Webber with 11 races remaining. He is 89 ahead of Hamilton.
Hamilton, who finished fourth in the race, had told reporters in the immediate aftermath that "I think it's finished really. In the sense of the championship it's almost over already."
He later expanded on the theme to British reporters in a conversation at the back of the McLaren garage."I just want to continue finishing races because Sebastian is pretty much gone," he said. "He has pretty much won it really. Unless he doesn't finish the next 10 races, which is very, very unlikely, he is gone. He has almost 100 points on me. That is four wins that I need to catch up without him finishing in any of those races," he added.
"It is not impossible but now it is about working with the guys to score as many team points as possible in the constructors' championship. We can't beat the Red Bull right now. There was over a second per lap difference today. That is just ridiculous."
The next race is the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, and the 26-year-old did not want to cast a cloud over his home event and the army of fans hoping for a victory by one of McLaren's two British champions.
"Bring on Silverstone, (yo)ur support will make a world of difference to us. I'm going to the factory now to do all I can with our team," he tweeted.
"People make a huge effort to come out, they camp out in the fields and its such an important weekend to them as it is to us and of course we'd love to put on a great show," he had explained after the race.