Hamilton laments inability to exploit Mercedes set-up


Lewis Hamilton has shouldered some of the blame for his difficult start to the Formula One season despite reliability issues affecting his Mercedes.

The defending world champion has been surrounded by conspiracy theories after electrical problems which forced him to start from the back of the grid at the Chinese Grand Prix returned in Russia, where he qualified 10th after being unable to post a time in Q3.

Meanwhile, Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg has won all four of this season's races and holds a 43-point lead at the top of the drivers' standings.

The 31-year-old previously dismissed claims of favouritism and admits part of his troublesome start is down to him not being able to make the most of the car's set-up, something he hopes to correct at the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend.

"I'm really proud of the guys in the garage: we've had a hard time but they're doing a fantastic job and I'm really happy with how we've been working together," Hamilton is quoted as saying by F1.com.

"Every weekend, we've got the car into a great place set-up-wise - I just haven't been fully able to exploit it. So the glass is half full for me.

"It will be a big challenge but there's a long way to go with 17 races left and, if the last four are anything to go by, there's a lot more still to come from us.

"The team has been on it 24-7 since returning from Russia so I'm confident they'll get to the bottom of the problems we've been having.

"I know I'm still quick. I've known that since day one in testing and, when I've had clean air and a damage-free car this season, I've shown it on track. I head to Spain confident of a good weekend."