Lewis Hamilton explains why he’s not Mercedes’ ‘leader’ through recent struggles

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Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he does not feel like the leading driver at Mercedes after being outperformed by George Russell for the vast majority of the new Formula One season to date. The 37-year-old has been beaten by his Silver Arrows team-mate at every Grand Prix so far this season with the exception of Bahrain but will be hoping to put things right with a dominant performance on the streets of Monaco at the very next time of asking.

Russell is the only driver on the grid to have secured top-five finishes at each race weekend since the beginning of the new campaign and has certainly shown his mettle as a top-class operator in his first year as a Mercedes driver. Hamilton has since insisted that he feels he is on an equal footing with Russell before underlining his desire to rectify his own early-season woes as a matter of priority.

“Well, firstly, I wouldn’t say I’m the leader,” Hamilton told a press conference before last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix. “George and I work equally hard together, I would say, to help drive the team and row just as hard as everyone else in the team.

“But through adversity and challenging times you always learn more about yourself, how you deal with things, how you reflect on things, how you are able to turn negatives into positives.

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“I wouldn’t say I’ve learned particularly much more, so I will say past experiences have helped during this phase. And I would say to just reassuring the strength I know I have mentally.

“Also, just reassuring us I still love my job, I still love the challenge even if it’s not fighting for wins. I’m still enjoying this battle we are having internally in terms of trying to, with the car I mean, trying to chase down these other guys.”

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Hamilton will be able to challenge at the top end of the grid over the course of this weekend in Monaco. Mercedes managed to find some much-needed pace through the slower-speed corners in Spain and will be hoping for another productive showing at F1’s most prestigious event, although Hamilton believes that they are likely to remain slightly adrift of the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari in spite of their recent steps in the right direction.

“I don’t know if we will be quick enough for that,” said the seven-time world champion when quizzed on his hopes of securing his first pole position of the season in Monaco. “I don’t think we are quick enough to qualify first just yet.”

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