SHANGHAI: Lewis Hamilton has refuted allegations of arrogance as the pressure grows on the championship leader heading into the penultimate race of the 2008 Formula One season this weekend.

Hamilton leads Ferrari’s Felipe Massa by five points coming into the Chinese Grand Prix, yet the McLaren driver on Tuesday felt moved to answer a growing number of critics who attacked his driving in Japan, where a non-points finish extended his non-winning streak to six races. BMW’s Robert Kubica — just 12-points behind Hamilton — retains an outside chance of the title and was the most prominent of the critics last weekend, saying most other F1 drivers believed Hamilton was a danger on the track due to overaggressive passing manoeuvres. Hamilton denied suggestions he was pushing other drivers around.

“I would never say I was better than anyone else,” Hamilton said on his personal Web site. “But I am a Formula One driver and all of us have to believe in ourselves to get to where we are. I look at the other drivers and I want to beat them. I would never say, ’I’m better than you’, I just think that all these guys are the best and to be the best I have to beat them. That’s how every racing driver sees things.”

Hamilton raised eyebrows with his comments after the Japanese Grand Prix in which he accused title rival Massa of deliberately colliding with him on the second lap of the race. —AP

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