Lewis Hamilton takes comfort from having performed at his 'optimum' so far in 2014
Briton also confident Merc's Canadian problems will prove a one-off
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 20/06/14 8:44am
Lewis Hamilton insists the disappointment of his costly pair of retirements in 2014 is tempered by the belief that he has performed at his “optimum” so far this season, as the Briton aims to bounce back to winning ways in Austria this weekend.
Despite winning four races to team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg’s two, it is Hamilton who trails in the championship standings by 22 points after the energy-recovery problems that afflicted both drivers’ cars in the Canadian GP proved terminal to the Briton’s race.
Hamilton has already had to claw back a 25-point deficit to Rosberg in the wake of mechanical problems at the season-opener in Australia – something which took him four races – although his current disadvantage is less than the points equivalent of one race victory.
And with 12 races still to go in the season, Hamilton insists he isn’t vexed by the gap yet, particularly as he feels he has performed strongly since the start of the year and yet still has performance to find.
“At the moment, knowing we have a lot of races ahead of us, it’s not concerning me too much,” Hamilton told reporters at the Red Bull Ring on Thursday.
“Of course if it was later on in the season and we were where we were it would be a little bit different.
“But in one sense it’s comforting for me to know that I feel like I’ve done my optimum up until now, but there’s still room for improvement. As a team also it’s in some ways positive for us to know that we can still improve. If we were perfect then it wouldn’t be fun for the rest of the year.”
Still, as the Mercedes driver heading into the summer races with a deficit to make up, Hamilton’s championship aspirations are undoubtedly vulnerable to any more W05 unreliability.
However, although the MGU-K problems caught Mercedes by surprise in Canada, the 2008 World Champion is confident the Brackley outfit are on top of the issue.
“We definitely haven’t lost any performance; we’d have only gained from that experience, as you do generally from all experiences of that regardless of if you lose points,” Hamilton insisted.
“You step back from it, a lot of work goes into understanding the situation and rectifying it. So if faced with a situation like that I think, firstly, we’d be able to handle it a lot better and, secondly, the car’s been fixed so it won’t happen again.”
Speaking to Sky Sports News, the 29-year-old added that his side of the garage were aware what other steps they could take were such problems to reoccur.
“My engineers are very honest and were initially like, ‘We could have done more for you to help you avoid it, but at the time there was so much going on, in hindsight we would have done this…’,” Hamilton explained.
“Then also I said, ‘In hindsight, I could have done this’. So we both could have done more but it is what it is, we have learnt a lot from it. We’ve gotten stronger as a team because of it and moving forward I think we won’t have that problem.”
This weekend’s Austrian GP is live only on Sky Sports F1. Race Day coverage begins with the Track Parade at 11.30am on Sunday