Lewis Hamilton fears more Mercedes engine trouble

Mercedes team
Nico Rosberg has dominated the start of the 2016 F1 season winning four races in a row

Lewis Hamilton fears more reliability problems could thwart his attempt to catch Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in the drivers' championship.

Hamilton is 43 points behind Rosberg after finishing second to him in Sunday's Russian Grand Prix.

The Briton said: "My concern is not about beating Nico. My concern is more the guys giving me a car to be able to fight equally.

"Do I think it is not going to happen again? No. There'll be problems ahead."

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Hamilton's remarks are a reference to the series of reliability problems that have hit him in the last two races.

Lewis Hamilton, Russian Grand Prix
Parts were flown in overnight to try to fix the problems that hindered Hamilton during qualifying in Sochi

In Russia, an engine failure in qualifying left him 10th on the grid. He fought back to second after Mercedes flew in fresh parts and his mechanics worked through the night to fit them.

Two weeks previously in China, exactly the same engine failure left him at the back of the grid, and he finished seventh in a car damaged in a collision at the first corner.

Two bad starts in the first two races in Australia and Bahrain resulted in him finishing second and third. Rosberg has won all four races so far this season.

Hamilton had another engine problem during the race in Russia. He had closed to seven seconds behind Rosberg and was entertaining thoughts of winning the race when the team told him to back off because his engine was losing water pressure.

The Briton said: "I'm not sure I've ever been big believer in luck. There is a reason for everything. What those are, I don't know.

"I am not hoping for it to get better, I am just going to keep doing what I'm doing. I am doing the job as well as I can do."

Hamilton would need a victory and a second place - without Rosberg scoring a point - to draw level with the German.

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Russian Grand Prix: Mercedes suffering from technical problems

Hamilton said: "He has a buffer knowing even if he has two bad weekends he is still in the fight, which is a huge confidence boost.

"Generally he has been starting at the front with no-one to really both him so it has been a nice Sunday drive for him.

"But there are still 17 races to go, and still 17 races I can give him hell."

Rosberg said: "For sure it is a lot of points but there is a long way to go. Lewis is as strong as ever and it will be the usual tough battle with him. It is just about going race by race at the moment."

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has described the failure that hit Hamilton on Saturday in Sochi as "freak" and has pledged that the team will work out what is going wrong.

lewis hamilton
Hamilton has experienced two bad starts, two collisions and several bouts of engine trouble so far this season

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