Hamilton says there is still time to turn season around

Lewis Hamilton refuses to rule out his chances of taking a record eighth F1 title this season.

Lewis Hamilton steers his car during the first free practice for Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Formula One Grand Prix.   -  AP

Lewis Hamilton refused to rule out his chances of taking a record eighth Formula One title this season, saying on Friday that champion Mercedes still had time to sort out its problems.

Ferrari is leading both championships ahead of a home Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola this weekend, with Charles Leclerc already 34 points clear of Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell after three races. Hamilton is fifth overall, and 43 points behind the Monegasque, with team boss Toto Wolff playing down Mercedes’ chances.

“I’m no mathematician so I don’t know what the percentage chances are but it’s definitely tough, it’s a tall order,” Hamilton told reporters.

‘Long way to go’

“There’s a long, long way to go. We’ve seen in the previous year how much happens in a season, there’s still so many races to go. There’s still time for us to turn this around, still time for us to fix this car and extract the full potential and that’s what I know all the team are working flat out to try to achieve.”

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Hamilton, 37, said he hoped every time he got in the car that it would feel better.

“We don’t have anything that’s ground-breaking that’s going to change our result but I hope we do move slightly forward,” he said of the weekend ahead.

The Briton has finished once on the podium so far this season, a third place in the opening Bahrain Grand Prix last month.

Mercedes has been flattered by Red Bull’s lack of reliability, with reigning world champion Max Verstappen sixth overall after suffering two retirements but winning in Saudi Arabia. Leclerc has won twice, taken bonus points for three fastest laps and finished second in the other race for a tally of 71 points from a possible 78.

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