Hamilton 'can show no weakness' in title fight

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 on the drivers parade.
© XPB 

After an uncharacteristically poor Canadian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has slipped a point behind Sebastian Vettel in the 2018 drivers championship battle.

With things so tight at the top of the standings, Hamilton says he can't afford to show any doubts or mental weakness this season if he's going to have a chance of coming out on top.

"I'm still here to win, I still believe we can win," he said after finishing in fifth place in Montreal. "I have complete confidence in my guys and I'm putting that energy towards them."

He insisted that he wasn't harbouring any doubts about whether the Mercedes W09 was a good enough car to win this year's championship.

"I don't let that get into my mind, no. That would be the first sign of weakness," he said. "And my mind is not weak.

"If you think of tennis, or golf, or whatever - in tennis, if you look across the net and think 'I might lose this,' then you've already lost.

"It doesn't matter where I start on the grid, I don't look at any driver and think, 'I might lose to that person.'

"I'm like, 'How can I beat them? How can I be better?' And I'm going to keep doing that until I die."

Last year's Mercedes was labelled a 'diva' after it also had an inconsistent start to its campaign. But eventually it came good over the summer, allowing Hamilton to dominate when it mattered.

"I think last year there was, 'Oh, Mercedes has the best car' and all those different things, and ultimately I think we did the better job," he said.

"Probably shouldn’t be writing that right now, because we are not always outperforming the other. But also it’s very close.

“You’ve got the Red Bulls that every now and then are in the mix. Ferraris have so far been, I would say, the most consistent.

"But there’s a lot of races to come," he insisted. "I think we’ve got potential in this car."

One of the issues Mercedes faced last week was having to retain its first generations power units a race longer than planned, because of 'quality issues' with the new engines. That had left them down on power compared to their key rivals.

"These engines have to go a long way," Hamilton acknowledged. "There’s going to be things happening that we just don’t even know, what, when."

While fifth place may have been less than he was after in Canada - where he had won the last three races back-to-back - Hamilton insisted that it was damage limitation days like this that could ultimately be decisive.

"I am really grateful for this result," he said. "While it’s ultimately not a great performance from us and we would want more points.

"We’d look back in ten races time and say that we actually had a fifth, it wasn’t an eighth, it wasn’t a DNF - I think I will be grateful for it."

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