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."

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