Last year's championship protagonists on Sunday wrote off their chances of contending for the 2009 crown.

Last year's championship protagonists on Sunday wrote off their chances of contending for the 2009 crown.

In 2008, reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa finished the drivers' title in first and second places respectively.

But this year, with Brawn and Red Bull leading the pace, the drivers' respective cars are no longer up to the task of joining the battle for the sport's new pecking order.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton finished the Spanish grand prix out of the points and ninth.

"It's just a shame they haven't given me a car to defend the championship with," the Briton told the BBC after the race. "The car is that bad. I'm driving the socks off it. There's just no hope."

2008 runner-up Massa, who still drives for Ferrari, fared better in a significantly improved F60 this weekend, but he categorically ruled out having another shot at the championship.

"No, no way," he told reporters in Barcelona, insisting that championship leaders Brawn are poised for the honours.

"Even if we improve massively and we are three or four tenths if front of them, they will still score points. So forget it," added Massa.

 

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