Lewis Hamil­ton says it will be ‘very tough’ to win F1 2018 ti­tle

Tehran Times - - WORLD SPORTS -

Lewis Hamil­ton has ad­mit­ted it will be ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to win a fifth F1 world cham­pi­onship this sea­son af­ter con­ced­ing Mercedes are cur­rently the “sec­ond or third-fastest team” on the grid.

Af­ter a promis­ing start in Aus­tralia, only miss­ing out on vic­tory due to a Vir­tual Safety Car, Hamil­ton has been well off the pace at the fol­low­ing two races and de­scribed his China week­end as a “dis­as­ter”.

With Fer­rari and Red Bull show­ing im­proved pace in 2018, it is the first time Mercedes, dou­ble ti­tle-win­ners for the last four years, have failed to win any of the sea­son’s first three races since the hy­brid era be­gan.

And al­though Hamil­ton cut Se­bas­tian Vet­tel’s cham­pi­onship lead to nine points in Shang­hai, he be­lieves the tricky start has proved this sea­son is go­ing to be his and the team’s hard­est test yet.

“Who knows what the sea­son holds?” the reign­ing world cham­pion told re­porters. “If it con­tin­ues the way it is it is go­ing to be very tough to win,

“But if there is an op­por­tu­nity and we were to fin­ish on top it would mean even more as it’s an even tougher sea­son than be­fore.”

Hamil­ton claimed he was in “no man’s land” and “rac­ing a dif­fer­ent race” af­ter labour­ing to fourth at the Chi­nese GP, with Daniel Ric­cia­rdo tak­ing a stun­ning come-from-be­hind vic­tory for Red Bull.

Hamil­ton’s Sun­day strug­gles fol­lowed a huge qual­i­fy­ing deficit to Fer­rari, fin­ish­ing more than half a sec­ond off Vet­tel’s pole-set­ting pace.

“My goal is still the same,” said the Mercedes driver. “But it is clear from this week­end we are not the quick­est.

“We have lost per­for­mance since Mel­bourne and even more so this week­end. We are the sec­ond or third-fastest team at the mo­ment so we’ve got im­prov­ing to do, but that’s not im­pos­si­ble.

“What this team has shown over the years we are great at stay­ing united and con­tinue to bar­rel on and keep work­ing.”

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