‘Slow start not entirely my fault’

Mercesded F1 driver Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton secured his 51st pole at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton said he was “not worried” about his difficult start to the Formula 1 season.

The world champion has made bad starts to both races and is trailing Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by 17 points after two victories for the German.

Hamilton said his starting problems were “not a big issue”, adding: “It is something we’ll fix for the next race.”

And he said he was “actually pretty chuffed” about finishing third in Bahrain after a first-lap collision.

Hamilton started on pole but was second behind Rosberg by the first corner, where he was hit by Valtteri Bottas’s Williams and dropped to seventh.

The damage to his car cost him between 0.8-1.5 seconds a lap but Hamilton fought back to finish third behind Rosberg and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton said his poor start in Australia two weeks ago was caused by a clutch problem and that in Bahrain “it was not entirely my fault but it was my reaction time that caused the delay”.


Hamilton dropped to seventh on the first lap following a collision with Williams’ Valtteri Bottas

Asked whether he was concerned about having to make up ground to Rosberg, just as he did on his way to the title in 2014, he said: “Don’t worry about it – I’m not.”

He added: “This is a psychological game for sure, but with age and experience I’m in the most solid place I’ve been. There’s very little that can penetrate that.

“We easily had the pace to win. We didn’t. We all feel the pain, but I just said to the guys: ‘There is a long way to go; let’s not worry about it.’

“I know it will come good. We’ve had two poles and we’ll get more.”

Rosberg, whose victory in Bahrain was his fifth victory in a row including the final three races of last season, said: “I’m just enjoying the moment – fighting for wins, knowing I’m going to be fighting for the win in China. I’m really not looking ahead.”

However, he said Mercedes were concerned about the threat from Ferrari, whose lead driver Sebastian Vettel retired before the start with an engine failure.

“They showed good pace,” Rosberg said. “They are close and they haven’t shown what they can do because of various mishaps in the races so far.

“They are coming at us strong and we need to be careful.”

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