Lewis Hamilton revealed that winning this year’s Drivers Championship “would mean even more” because of the level of competition this year, and that if his lack of pace continues, it will be tough to take his fifth World Championship.
The Brit, who said before the season started that he hoped title rival Sebastian Vettel was “at his best” so any defeats dealt a heavier blow to the German’s confidence, has yet to take a win, and took just one of a possible three pole positions.
Speaking on his chances of taking wins – and potentially the title – this year, Hamilton admitted it would be a challenge to take the title.
“There’s not really much to say on it, who knows what the season holds?” Hamilton is quoted as saying by RACER.
“If we continue the way it is it’s going to be tough to win. If there is an opportunity and we were to finish on top it would mean even more because it’s an even tougher season than before.”
One of Hamilton’s most lacklustre outings came two weeks ago in the Chinese Grand Prix, when he both qualified and finished in fourth.
Despite his sub-par performance, Hamilton insists he was “on top of his game“, and that it was the car that wasn’t there.
“I definitely feel like I was on top of my game [in China]. I came and prepared exactly the same as always, I just struggled with the car. Rather than blame it on whether it’s strategy or anything else, I just was uncomfortable in the car all weekend, well Saturday and Sunday.
“To not have the pace, the pace level that I would normally have, I have got to take it upon myself to try and figure it out and move forward. But of course it is a joint effort, but definitely on my side we struggled more.”
The Chinese Grand Prix had looked to be turning into another tough race for fans, before a safety car threw strategies out of the window and saw Aston Martin Red Bull Racing make decisive pit stops to take the win. Commenting on whether Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport should have done the same, the reigning champion said that Mercedes made the right decision for the time.
“It doesn’t really make a difference. It doesn’t matter now, it’s done. We move forward. The team made the decision I would’ve fallen behind Kimi [Raikkonen], at the time we didn’t know that we will have the collisions and all that stuff ahead, so at the time it was not the right decision.”
Hamilton was fifth-fastest in Friday’s second free practice session, setting a time over eight tenths slower than first-placed and last week’s winner Daniel Ricciardo.