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Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes driver bemoans 'worst start to a season I've ever had' after Australian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton retired from the Australian Grand Prix with a power unit failure; Hamilton has been outperformed by Mercedes team-mate George Russell in the opening three events in his final season with the team; watch Japanese GP from April 5-7 live on Sky Sports F1

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Highlights of the Australian GP from Albert Park, Melbourne

Lewis Hamilton has branded the start to his 2024 F1 season as "the worst" in his career after retiring from the Australian Grand Prix.

Hamilton was eliminated in Q2 at Albert Park on Saturday and things didn't improve on Sunday as he retired from the race on Lap 17 when running outside of the top 10 due to a power unit failure.

The seven-time world champion, who will leave Mercedes to join Ferrari at the end of this year, finished seventh and ninth in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, so is also statistically having his worst campaign after three events.

Hamilton has taken a podium in one of the first three races of the year in every season since his F1 debut in 2007, apart from 2009 when he had a disqualification, sixth and seventh for McLaren.

"It's the worst start to a season I've ever had. It's worse than 2009," he said.

"It's tough on the spirit for everyone in the team when so much work has been going on over the winter. You come in excited, driven and motivated, with the mindset you're going to be fighting for wins, then that's not the case.

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Lewis Hamilton says the gap from Mercedes to Red Bull is the same as last year after he retired from the Australian Grand Prix following an engine failure

"Then you think 'okay, maybe second or third' and that's not the case and it cascades a bit further down and you go through the motions.

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"It's challenging. I continue to be inspired by the people I've worked with and continue to put in the effort and show up. That's the most important thing."

Hamilton: I surprinsgly feel good

Hamilton has not won a race since December 2021 and has also had just one pole position in the last two years.

The 39-year-old is yet to beat Mercedes team-mate George Russell in qualifying or the race so far this year, underlining his difficult start to the season.

He thinks it's important to focus on "the bigger picture" despite frustration about things that he "can't control".

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Hamilton reports an engine failure and retires from a chaotic Australian Grand Prix!

"Surprisingly I feel pretty good. I'm trying to keep things in perspective. It could be so much worse," said Hamilton.

"I really enjoyed my time in Australia and I'm still enjoying working with the team. Of course, I would love to be fighting for wins and actually finishing races.

"It's never great to end a race this way. But what I know is we will bounce back and eventually get there, we just have to continue to push."

Formula 1's biggest ever season continues with the Japanese Grand Prix, live on Sky Sports F1 from April 5-7. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - No contract, cancel anytime

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