Hamilton says he has not given Rosberg a ‘fight’ yet

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Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team’s German driver Nico Rosberg (center) celebrates after winning the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 17, 2016. While he has three wins in the first three races of the current F1 season, there are still 18 races left and team-mate Lewis Hamilton can steal the thunder from him. AFP PHOTO

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team’s German driver Nico Rosberg (center) celebrates after winning the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 17, 2016. While he has three wins in the first three races of the current F1 season, there are still 18 races left and team-mate Lewis Hamilton can steal the thunder from him. AFP PHOTO

Although Nico Rosberg took the first three races of the current 2016 Formula One season, Lewis Hamilton believes he has not yet put up a good fight against his team-mate at Mercedes AMG.

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Hamilton believes title rival Rosberg has been handed an easy time in the opening races of 2016, allowing him to “breeze” to victory relatively unchallenged on all three occasions.

“He’s done a great job,” Hamilton told CNN when asked about Rosberg’s performances. “I’ve not really been in the fight with him, so he’s had pretty much a breeze for the last three races. Good for him. Enjoy it while it lasts, because you never know how long it will last.”

Hamilton claimed pole position for the first grands prix in Australia and Bahrain, but poor starts and subsequent drama dropped the world champion down the field and allowed Rosberg to escape out front.

At China, Hamilton was forced to start from the back of the field after technical problems bugged him in qualifying that resulted to a change in his car’s gearbox. On the other hand, Rosberg captured the pole and led almost throughout an otherwise chaotic race.

Pressed on having to fight back from adversity in all three opening rounds, Hamilton added: “People make things look a lot worse than they are. Of course I’m 36 points behind and that number is quite big and that’s not a positive, but it’s a long, long year.”

“For sure, it’s very easy at any point in time in life to look at the negatives at one particular moment and think that all is gone. But there is a long, long way to go. As long as I know I have given absolutely everything that is in my physical power and mental abilities, as long as I’ve given everything, I can never be upset,” he said.

“If you look at Melbourne – the things that we learned where I dropped down to seventh and got back to second, and still even in Bahrain where I drove from the issue I had back up to third. And then the last one [China] was even worse again, but still I had 18, 19 overtakes which is more than most and hopefully still showed that fighting spirit that I’ve always had since I was a kid,” he added.

Hamilton further said there is still 18 races to go, and his car and team remain great.

Hamilton came from behind to beat Rosberg to the title in 2014, although the largest deficit he faced to his team-mate that year was 25 points. Rosberg, meanwhile, said his early margin was no cause for celebration, warning he expects Hamilton to be “relentless” in the pursuit for a third straight F1 crown.

The next round of the F1 season will be in Russia on May 1.

THE TIMES

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