Hamilton fell 13 points behind Vettel after Sochi

Hamilton plays down championship impact of disappointing Sochi result

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Lewis Hamilton has played down the significance of a disappointing fourth place finish at the Russian Grand Prix in the championship battle.

Sochi brought to an end the run of one-two finishes for him and Sebastian Vettel at the first three races, though the German would finish second behind race winner Valtteri Bottas.

The result also saw the German move 13 points clear at the top of the Drivers' standings with the next two races, in Spain and Monaco, likely to favour Ferrari, but the three-time champion is unconcerned.

“No I don’t. I don’t think about it, I’m not thinking about all of that right now," he said when asked if he had considered the title implications.

"Right now I need to just understand where speed was this weekend, where I went wrong with the setup and then come out and fight.

“[There’s] Still a long way to go, second in the championship, ten points or whatever it is behind Sebastian so it’s not the end of the world but of course we need to recover the pace that I had previously because it was a very unusual weekend.”

Indeed, Sochi was arguably one of the worst races for Hamilton at Mercedes, as he struggled to match the pace of Ferrari or his team-mate throughout the three days.

“For me, a very, very odd weekend - it has been a very, very tough I can't remember having as difficult a weekend, probably the last time was Baku,” Lewis commented.

“Ultimately [I was] not quick enough, could not put the car where I was comfortable. In the race, there was overheating, so I will just have to settle for fourth. 

“I was out of the race from the get go. I wasn't able to stay in the battle. I think I had the pace to fight with Kimi, the car was just overheating all the time.

“I'm sure we'll go back to the drawing board and try to figure it out. I think ultimately if I had better pace, then I would have been further up. Even so, hopefully, got some points at least for the team.” 

Despite his own disappointment, Hamilton was gracious towards Bottas after claiming his first F1 win.

“A big congratulations to Valtteri, he did a fantastic job and deserves the win today. He's been fast all weekend, so exceptional and great for the team,” he said. 

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