Lewis Hamilton explains recent F1 struggles in Russia and Monaco

Lewis Hamilton says "small nuances" in car set-up are behind his struggles in the Monaco and Russian Grands Prix earlier in this Formula 1 season

Lewis Hamilton explains recent F1 struggles in Russia and Monaco

Hamilton has won two of F1 2017's first six grands prix, but he trails Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by 25 points in the championship thanks to difficult races at Sochi and on the streets of Monte Carlo.

On both occasions, Mercedes had difficulty getting Pirelli's ultra-soft tyres to work on smooth asphalt, but Hamilton suffered worse than team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton finished a distant fourth as Bottas won in Russia, then failed to qualify inside the top 10 as Bottas challenged the Ferraris for pole in Monaco.

"In Sochi, we had different car set-ups," Hamilton told Autosport. "Initially it didn't look like they were massively different, but just small nuances.

"For example, corner entry stability and balance, as opposed to mid-corner to exit, [the cars] were set-up differently.

"I had a very unstable car on the way into the corner, so the way I ended up having to drive the car was with more understeer mid-corner. It was lots of complicated things.

"Then there's tyre temperature, and how you utilise the tyre temperature.

"There are small things that we are beginning to see."

Hamilton explained that variations in brake bias and mechanical balance on his car compared to Bottas's exacerbated the problems in Monaco.

There he lost tyre temperature waiting at the end of the pitlane for the start of qualifying, complained of a lack of grip and almost crashed twice after losing the rear of his Mercedes at Massenet and Casino Square.

"Sometimes it's to do with the brake bias," Hamilton added. "The last race [Monaco] it was more to do with the brake balance and the mechanical balance - and because we [needed to] do multiple laps [to prepare the tyres].

"By the fourth lap the tyres were in a better place than they were in the first lap, but the Ferraris could do it first lap.

"We're trying to understand how we can get the car to switch the tyres on quicker.

"But in Q2, had I finished that lap, I was only a tenth behind Valtteri, so I would've got into Q3."

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