Lewis Hamilton: F1 2018 championship lead feels 'empty'

Formula 1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton says he has an "empty" feeling about being the at the head of the standings because of the way Mercedes' season has started

Lewis Hamilton: F1 2018 championship lead feels 'empty'

Mercedes has not had the fastest car on a race weekend since the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, and Hamilton said ahead of the Spanish GP this weekend that makes it hard to get much satisfaction from his championship position.

"In all honesty I have zero comfortability," he said when asked about being leader. "Since the last race I've not thought for one second that now we're leading the world championship.

"Not that it's not important to me, it's just empty at the moment, because there's a long, long way to go.

"Imagine I got excited now, knowing that we still have all the problems and things, moving ahead it doesn't really mean anything.

Why Hamilton is off his game

"If we happen to this weekend have got on top of the issues that we have with the car, and we start to be more consistent, then I think we'll be a lot happier, because then I'll know that I can continue to punch either at my weight, or a little bit above my weight.

"But at the moment I'm punching below my weight. And that's not sufficient enough to win a world championship.

"At the moment we're capitalising on lots of the surrounding circumstances that hinder the outcome of the race, for example the last one [in Baku], but also people making mistakes.

"I'll take it for now, but I know for the long term I can't continue to rely on that."

Hamilton acknowledged that tyres remain the big issue, because honing the Mercedes set-up around the 2018 compounds is a major challenge.

"I guess I can't really expand too much on it because if we knew it all we could do it, and also we're constantly working on solutions, set-up direction, or getting to the car to optimum set-up on the weekend has been interesting," he said.

"But again the underlying factor comes down to how you utilise the tyres.

"The tyres are behaving differently this year, and it's how the car uses the tyres.

"The problem is the balance that we're having with the tyres is shifting a little bit, from one session to another, so when you change the car set-up it doesn't actually correlate with what the tyres shift to.

"It's like a moving target that we're struggling I guess to steady. It's shifting a little bit too much, we set the car up for this, then the tyres move that way or the track moves that way.

"For me it's really how can I utilise these tyres, how can I minimise the losses, and not go in the wrong direction on set-up, which we have done a couple of times."

shares
comments
FIA expects F1 2019 changes to make cars 1.5 seconds slower

Previous article

FIA expects F1 2019 changes to make cars 1.5 seconds slower

Next article

Spanish GP F1 practice: Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes 1-2 in FP1

Spanish GP F1 practice: Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes 1-2 in FP1
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Author Adam Cooper
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Plus

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Plus

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021