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Rosberg yet to be properly challenged in 2016 - Hamilton

19 Apr 2016

Lewis Hamilton believes title rival Nico 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.

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.

Last weekend in China, meanwhile, Hamilton was forced to start from the back of the field after technical gremlins struck in qualifying, while Rosberg captured pole and led almost throughout an otherwise chaotic race.

"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."

Pressed about his own mentality after 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.

"If you look at Melbourne - the things that we learnt 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.

"Another 18 races to go, I've still got a great car, I've still got a great team - it's important none of us change anything."

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 that he expected Hamilton to be ‘relentless' in his pursuit for a third straight F1 crown.