Shanghai, Oct 7: McLaren's Lewis Hamilton said he was ''gutted'' by the manner of his exit from the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday but was confident he would still be world champion at the end of the season.
The 22-year-old rookie needed to win or finish ahead of team mate Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen this weekend to win the world title but his race ended when he slid off the asphalt and into the gravel when approaching the pit lane.
Ferrari's Raikkonen went on to win the race with defending champion Alonso second to reduce the Briton's championship lead to four points and send the title race into a three-way showdown in the season finale in Brazil on October 21.
''Obviously I was gutted when I got out of the car as I hadn't made a mistake all year and to do it on the way into the pits is not something I usually do,'' Hamilton told reporters.
''But you can't go through life without making mistakes, I'm over it. I know the team is working very hard to make sure we can bounce back in Brazil.
''I'm really sorry for the team, they did a fantastic job as always. But don't worry there's still one race to go in Brazil, I can still do it.''
McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh admitted that the rear tyres on Hamilton's car had passed their ''useable life'' by the time the rookie driver headed for the pit lane on a greasy track.
''With hindsight we should have brought him in one lap earlier and we would probably have got the job done,'' he said.
''But it was a long race and we made those calls, sometimes they're bang on, sometimes they're not quite right.'' Whitmarsh said Hamilton would inevitably blame himself for how his race ended but that the team had also felt some responsibility.
''Lewis wanted to win this race in style and was clearly a little bit harder on his tyres than some of the drivers around him,'' he said.
''He is such a professional and such a perfectionist, of course he'll blame himself, but he's part of the team,'' he added.
''We win together and sometimes we get it wrong together ...
we're going to Brazil for a really exciting finale ... he'll be determined to win in Brazil.''