DAMON Hill yesterday finally broke his silence on his sacking by Formula One's top team by declaring: ``I was shocked.'' At a press conference in Italy (above), he shed no light on the reason why he was axed by team chief Frank Williams, but did warn it had made him more determined to wrap up the world drivers' championship this weekend in the Italian Grand Prix at Imola.

Hill said he was confident his displays this

season would have earned him a new contract.

But he was dismissed in a telephone call from Williams last week, who then signed Germany's Heinz-Harald Frentzen.

``It was a shock,'' admitted Hill. ``I feel like I've been to Mars and back in the last 10 days.

``Frank was obviously uncomfortable about telling me, but the fact of the matter was he had made his decision.

``I cannot tell you what the real reason was, but Frank told me money was not an issue.

``I asked him the reason, but am not prepared to divulge what he told me.''

``Frank Williams signed me because he wants to beat Michael (Schumacher) next year,'' said 29-year-old Frentzen, who regularly got the

better of his German countryman in their early days racing together. ``I hope I can beat him.''

Hill now hopes to win the title and secure a drive next year, with Jordan Peugeot and Stewart Ford, the team that will be led by three-times

former champion Jackie Stewart next season, the two favourites.

``What's happened makes me more determined - my only goal is the championship,'' said Hill. ``I have won 20 races for the team, and if I

finish the season with 23 wins, I will consider that a bloody good score.''