Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes are more uncertain about their car than they were 12 months ago despite the fact he’s leading the world championship.

“Since the last race I have not thought for one second that I’m leading the world championship,” he said at the Circuit de Catalunya today.

“There’s a long way to go. Imagine if I got excited now knowing that we still have all the problems and things moving ahead. It doesn’t mean really anything.

“What’s important is where you are at the end of the year. If we happen this weekend to have got on top of the issues that we have with the car and we start to be more consistent then I can be a lot happier because then I know I can continue to punch at or above my weight. But at the moment I’m punching below my weight and that’s not sufficient to win the world championship.”

Hamilton said his championship lead has come about by capitalising on the mistakes and misfortune of other drivers. “I’ll take it for now but I don’t think for the long term I can continue to rely on that,” he said.

He said the team isn’t as confident as it was ahead of the same race 12 months ago and is still trying to solve its problems with the current generation of tyres.

“I would say we were a little bit more confident last year in starting on the right foot as we understood the car a little bit better already by this point. There’s still a lot of unknowns in this season right now. We’re still learning and hoping.

“For example this weekend the tyres are the biggest contributor to the struggles that we’ve had so I’m hoping that this weekend we don’t have them but I have no idea. And they’ve just changed the tyres again for the blistering issues we had in testing so it could go from a two-stop to a one-stop or maybe a three-stop I have no idea what it’s going to do.

“But I do hope it’s not a one-stop because that’s not very exciting.”

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2018 F1 season

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