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Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes driver says team are not far away from challenging Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren

Mercedes have yet to score a podium during the opening eight races of the 2024 F1 season; Hamilton is hopeful of soon returning to contention; watch every session of the Canadian GP live on Sky Sports F1, with first practice on Friday at 6.30pm and Sunday's race at 7pm

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Lewis Hamilton believes the car is continuing to improve and hopes Mercedes will start closing the gap with the teams ahead

Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes are not "far away" from competing at the front of the Formula 1 grid.

​​​​​​The Silver Arrows have begun 2024 trailing Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren but Hamilton is hopeful the upgrades that are gradually being brought to the W15 will soon enable him to contend for podiums.

Ahead of his move to Ferrari next year, Hamilton's best finish in his final campaign with Mercedes has so far been a sixth place in Imola, while team-mate George Russell's best results have been two fifth-place finishes.

Max Verstappen had appeared on course for a fourth successive drivers' title after winning four of the first five races this season, but Red Bull's dominance has been abruptly halted by McLaren's Norris and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc claiming recent wins.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, Hamilton said: "The car's continuing to improve. I think everyone's obviously taking that step, hopefully, closer to the Red Bulls and I think that's been really positive.

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Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets in first practice ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix

"I'm incredibly proud of everyone back at the factory, just how hard everyone's working and how resilient everyone is. Everyone is staying focused, head down, the morale is really great in the team.

"So I'm hoping that we can get closer to these guys and start actually competing at the front."

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Mercedes had only one new front wing available for the previous round in Monaco, which was given to Russell to use, with Hamilton's approval.

Despite the team insisting that Hamilton had said he didn't want to run the new front wing in Monaco, the seven-time world champion appeared to express frustration at the situation after being outqualified by Russell for the seventh time in eight races this season.

Asked whether Mercedes could be more competitive this weekend, Hamilton added: "I don't think it's far away.

"We've got the upgrade - both cars have the upgrade this weekend - so I'm looking forward to seeing how that feels on the track."

Where have Mercedes improved?

Having won eight successive constructors' titles under F1's previous regulations, Mercedes have struggled since new rules were introduced in 2022.

The team's only victory in the previous two seasons came when Russell won at the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix, while the last of Hamilton's 103 race wins was at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

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Sky F1's Ted Kravitz analysed the upgrades Mercedes brought to the Monaco Grand Prix

Mercedes have gone down various avenues in their attempts to come to terms with the ground effect regulations, but Hamilton is confident this time will be different.

"The biggest improvement I think coming into this year has been ride quality and being able to get the car lower, which is what others have been able to do.

"Then stability on entry to corners, the car is far more predictable than it ever was, particularly the last couple of years. It's a lot more stable so you can be more committed into the corners.

"But then through-corner balance is where we've been lacking and where some of the others have really taken a big step. So that's what we're trying to work on."

Sky Sports F1's live Canadian GP schedule

Friday June 7
6pm: Canadian GP Practice One (session starts at 6.30pm)
8pm: The F1 Show
9.45pm: Canadian GP Practice Two (session starts at 10pm)

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A look back at some of the most dramatic moments from the Canadian Grand Prix

Saturday June 8
5.15pm: Canadian GP Practice Three (session starts at 5.30pm)
8pm: Canadian GP Qualifying build-up
9pm: Canadian GP Qualifying
11pm: Ted's Qualifying Notebook

Sunday June 9
5.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday - Canadian GP build-up
9pm: Chequered Flag - Canadian GP reaction
10pm: Ted's Notebook

Formula 1 leaves Europe for the final time before the summer break as the championship moves on to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. Watch every session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve this weekend live on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday's race at 7pm. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - No contract, cancel anytime

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