Lewis Hamilton taking new approach to his racing

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton says he is taking a new approach this season - aimed at scoring regular points.

Last year his title hopes were hit by several non-finishes and incidents.

He said: "Last year taught me the value of consistency. It's no use chasing a great result if you can't follow it up with a strong finish the next week.

"Maybe I'm just playing myself in. In 2007, I didn't win a race until the sixth round but I was in the hunt for the title all through the year."

That is a reference to the Englishman's debut season in Formula 1, when he set an all-time record by finishing on the podium for his first nine races.

This year, he has finished third in the first two races and is lying second in the championship, five points behind Ferrari's Fernando Alonso but ahead of the men most likely to be his title rivals - his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button and Red Bull drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.

In both Australia and Malaysia, Hamilton started from pole position but lost ground in the race for different reasons.

"I won't deny that I'm disappointed to have had two pole positions and not to have been able to convert either of them into victories," added Hamilton, "but I prefer to think of it that luck just hasn't been on my side, and that it will swing my way sooner or later."

The next race is the Chinese Grand Prix on 15 April, an event Hamilton won last year and in 2008.

He said: "I'm looking at the championship as a whole. Although, of course, I'd love to win every race, it's more important to be in a good points-scoring position at every race.

"The first two races have shown that, as a team, we're definitely in positions to win.

"Malaysia was a good example of how to pick up points when you're looking at the championship - and that was something I really took away as a positive from that race.

"I'll be heading to China looking to win - but it's just as important to pick up some good points if, for whatever reason, a win isn't on the cards."

Button is third in the championship, five points behind his McLaren team-mate, after winning in Australia but finishing out of the points in Malaysia.

He said his poor result in the last race would make no difference to his approach to China.

"Not really," Button said. "It makes you a little keener to get back in the cockpit as you're always a bit more determined to be looking ahead rather than looking back.

"But it doesn't really make any difference. In fact, the three-week break has been extremely relaxing - I was able to get away, relax and keep training.

"It's still the start of a very long season, so it's good to keep fit and refreshed.

"I've usually gone well in Shanghai, it's a circuit I really enjoy and I'm looking forward to the race weekend."