Hamilton has "empty feeling" despite leading championship

Lewis Hamilton says he has an "empty" feeling about being the leader of the F1 world championship, because he knows that he's been helped by circumstances, such as Sebastian Vettel's mistake in Baku.

Hamilton admits that Mercedes has not had the fastest overall package this year, and he won't be satisfied until it does.

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

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

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

Hamilton acknowledged that he's benefited from problems for his rivals.

"At the moment we're capitalising on lots of the surrounding circumstances that hinder the outcome of the race, for example the last one, but also people making mistakes. So I'll take it for now, but I know for the long term I can't continue to rely on that."

Hamilton says he can win the world championship even if he doesn't have the fastest car over the duration of the season.

"I believe so. Pushing with this great team to turn this car into the best car over the season. We're talking milli-percentages.

"There are tracks so far that seem to have worked really well for them, to be quite strong for them for the first four. I anticipate they [Ferrari] are going to be very, very strong here again this weekend.

"I think it's difficult to say who has the best car. Up until now their car has performed the best, but maybe it's about unlocking the potential of our car, so maybe it's about the mindset of the glass half full.

"I have no idea how this weekend's going to go, last year here I had no idea how we were going to go. I would say we were a little but more confident in starting from the right foot, because we understood the car better already by this point.

"There's still a lot of unknowns into this season right now, so we're still learning."

Hamilton acknowledged that tyres remain the big issue, and honing the set-up around them 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.

"But again the underlying factor comes down to how you utilise the tyres. People can write that it's because I didn't do testing, but I did every test last year, I did the end of season test, the mid-season test, which I really don't like doing.

"But the tyre 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.

"That's really what we're working on. 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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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Article type Breaking news