The fighter inside Lewis Hamilton is ready to battle to the bitter end of the Formula One season, even if he knows the title has passed him by for another year.
Heading into the summer break, Hamilton was firmly in contention for the championship after winning his first grand prix with Mercedes in Hungary, trailing Sebastian Vettel by 48 points.
Upon the resumption of the campaign last month, however, that gap has exactly doubled as Vettel has romped to victory in Belgium, Italy and Singapore.
Although mathematically still possible as there are 150 points up for grabs, realistically Hamilton knows what little hope he had ahead of the race in Singapore has now evaporated.
Vettel crushed his rivals, finishing 32 seconds clear of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso – who is now 60 points adrift – and 53 seconds clear of Hamilton in fifth.
Asked whether it was now game over with regards to the title, Hamilton said: “Yeah, but there’s always fight in me.
“Even in Singapore I still drove with the thought I could win, and that will remain the same for the rest of the year.
“Realistically, he is just under 100 points ahead of me, he always wins and he is going to continue on that curve.”
“He’s on his way to his fourth world championship.”
Hamilton, however, is far from disheartened at the sight of watching Vettel run away with proceedings yet again.
“I actually feel really good,” said Hamilton.
“I had a meeting with my engineers after the race and it was really productive.
“Admittedly, it wasn’t the best of weekends, that’s for sure, and the result was disappointing for us all, especially as the car felt like it was really competitive.
“Obviously Sebastian is a long way ahead now. He’s had the perfect weekend for many races, and we need to dissect that to see how we can adapt or improve in certain areas so we have those weekends.
“But to see him doing what he’s doing, it’s not depressing. It’s nothing new.
“They [Red Bull] made a step somewhere on the car this weekend, but I still feel like we can fight at some point through the weekends for the rest of the season.”
Whilst drivers and teams naturally fight to win, there is no disgrace in finishing second in either championship for Mercedes and Hamilton, in the first year of their three-season partnership.
The current campaign is by far Mercedes’ best since their return to F1 in 2010, so both team and driver are gunning for the runner-up spots.
“That’s going to be the target, but if we do what we did in Singapore then that’s not going to happen,” added Hamilton.
“It’s no coincidence Fernando [Alonso] always ends up second, even though he has qualified further behind.”