Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton wants consistency in title fight

British F1 driver Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have seven world titles between them
Azerbaijan Grand Prix on the BBC
Venue: Baku City Circuit Dates: 23-25 June
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, online, mobile, the BBC Sport app. Full details here

Lewis Hamilton says both he and his Mercedes team have to be more consistent if they are to beat Ferrari to the world championship this year.

Hamilton trails Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by 12 points heading into this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Hamilton said: "Consistency is the key to winning the title and up until now Sebastian has had the consistency of a winning championship.

"We have to improve that if we are to have a shot at winning the title."

Hamilton won the last race in Canada but had poor performances in two of the previous three races, finishing fourth in Russia and seventh in Monaco after uncompetitive displays.

He was 24 points behind Vettel before Canada, but a dominant performance by the Briton, allied to Vettel suffering damage to his car and having to fight back to fourth, allowed him to cut the deficit in half.

Formula 1

"The last race was important for the team and definitely important for me in the fight for the championship," he said.

"After all the work that has gone in, [it was] a taste of greatness that we want every weekend. It pushed us to another level and we are fighting a continued fight for more of those weekends."

Hamilton said he was determined to win this weekend in Baku after a difficult weekend on the street track last year.

The Mercedes driver was the fastest by far throughout practice but drove badly in qualifying before crashing and could only finish fifth in the race.

"I am here to win in Baku, which is the only race I have not won," Hamilton said.

"Last year there were a lot of signs of greatness in terms of pace but I wasn't able to convert it. I hope this weekend I will be able to do that.

"I have looked through what I went through last year here and know where are the pitfalls are and the issues I had then and don't plan on having the same ones this weekend.

"But it is a new year and I'm sure there will be scenarios but we are better prepared than we were then."

Hamilton on his future - and Ferrari

Hamilton, who is contracted to Mercedes until the end of 2018, also cooled speculation over his future after he was quoted in a magazine interview saying he "could" stop at the end of this year.

"I don't even remember discussing that," he said. "It's not something I'm thinking about right now."

Pushed on whether he wanted to retire at the top, Hamilton said: "The dream for a lot of sportsmen and women is to go out on top.

"I guess you could then say a lot of people had stopped before their time.

"I haven't decided whether I want to stop before my time. At the moment, I don't plan to."

And asked whether he would like to drive for Ferrari in the future, he said: "At the moment, all I'm thinking about is beating the Ferrari.

"I have made it no secret I am a big fan of Ferrari and what they have achieved. Who knows what he future holds? At the moment I can't imagine myself being anywhere else than here and I am really enjoying the fight with Ferrari."

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