Friday 11 May 2018

Lewis Hamilton: 'Zero Comfortability' in Title Race

Despite the fact that he is currently atop the drivers' standings, Lewis Hamilton admits that he has not raced up to his calibre so far this term. Hamilton shot to the top of the standings two weeks ago after a wild Azerbaijan GP last week, but the Mercedes driver said that his current form will not be good enough to stave off Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel over the course of a full season.

Lewis Hamilton enters the Spanish Grand Prix
weekend in reflective moods
Photo: Octane Photography
Ahead of the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix Hamilton told the press, "At the moment I am punching below my weight, and that is not sufficient to win a world championship. I have zero comfortability. Since the last race I have not thought for one second that I am leading the world championship."

Hamilton's win in Azerbaijan coupled with Vettel's relatively disappointing fourth-place finish propelled Hamilton to the top of the standings on 70 points. Vettel is second with 66, while his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen is further adrift in third on 48 points. Those betting on F1 will have a tough call to make with the two at the top so close together.

Hamilton seemed to indicate that he is fortunate to be atop the standings, and he believes he is only there due to some fortunate happenings with some of his chief competitors. The defending world champion added, "At the moment we are capitalising on surrounding circumstances that have hindered the outcome of a race. I'll take it for now but in the long term I can't continue to rely on it."

This weekend's race in Spain may well dictate how the rest of the season plays out. How a driver fares at the track in Barcelona is often thought to be a harbinger of what's to come. Hamilton seems to agree, as he said, "If this weekend we start to get on top of the issues we have had, and we are more consistent then I will be a lot happier."

Sebastian Vettel for many is the title favourite
Photo: Octane Photography
Hamilton's relative struggles have been so pronounced that some are even ready to install Vettel as the favourite to win the title this year. When the circus was in Spain just a couple of months ago for winter testing Vettel was atop the timesheet at the Circuit de Catalunya. He has also claimed the pole at three races running.

For his part Vettel is pleased with the way the season has unfolded thus far. He said, "So far we can be happy. We have been very competitive and have had a chance to fight for the win in most of the races. It is very tight at the top and small things can make the difference. But it's nice that whether you start first or sixth, you can fight for the win in terms of pure performance."

Vettel hasn't finished atop the drivers' standings since 2013, which was his penultimate season with Infiniti Red Bull Racing. It was the last of four consecutive titles, though he has finished as runner-up in each of the last two campaigns.

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