Bahrain GP: Lewis Hamilton says mind is already on 2018 title after Sebastian Vettel wins again
Hamilton falls 17 points behind Vettel after two races and admits Mercedes must put up a better fight in 2018
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 13/12/18 12:15pm
A fired-up Lewis Hamilton admits his thoughts are "already on the world championship" just two races into the 2018 season after falling 17 points behind Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel continued his perfect start to the campaign with victory at the Bahrain GP, giving Ferrari their first back-to-back wins at the start of a season since 2004.
Four-time world champion Hamilton recovered from ninth to finish third in the desert and while he insisted he was "honestly really happy" with his podium, he couldn't help but think of his title rival's early advantage.
"My thoughts are already on the world championship," Hamilton, who had victory snatched off him by Vettel at the season-opening Australian GP, told Sky F1. "I've lost two races now."
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Starting ninth on the grid due to a five-place penalty, Hamilton survived contact with Max Verstappen on Lap Two before executing a sublime triple overtake on Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen.
He then took advantage of Kimi Raikkonen's botched pit-stop, but was never really in contention for what could be a crucial race win as Vettel held off Valtteri Bottas in the lead Mercedes.
"It's definitely not bad," Hamilton said. "To come from ninth and get third I am really happy with that. It was kind of damage limitation really.
"I was really just grateful after the [Verstappen] incident on the second lap that my car wasn't broken so that I could continue. That would really have been difficult."
The Formula 1 season continues at pace with the Chinese GP live and exclusive on Sky Sports F1 next weekend, and Hamilton is hopeful he, and Mercedes, can recover quickly.
"I am 17 points down already after just two races," Hamilton, who overturned Vettel's 25-point advantage to take the 2017 title, added.
"Obviously the [grid] penalty this weekend was difficult for us all to swallow, but I think the team did a really good job.
"Hopefully when we go to the next race we'll have a better understanding of the tyres and hopefully put up a better fight with the Ferraris."
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