Hamilton still has work to do in Europe

Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:54am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - After winning three out of four races and taking a 27-point lead in the standings, Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has a new challenge as he and Mercedes prepare for the start of the European season.

A third world title, which would lift the Mercedes driver level with boyhood hero Ayrton Senna and British great Jackie Stewart, looks increasingly likely but Europe will play a big part in deciding that.

Although Hamilton said after Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix that he felt more comfortable and 'powerful' in the car than last year, when he won 11 races, he actually has no more wins at this stage than he did in 2014.

The biggest difference is better reliability, and the failure so far of team mate Nico Rosberg to raise his game.

In 2014, Hamilton started the season with a retirement in Australia through no fault of his own and then won in Malaysia, Bahrain and China. He also started three of the four on pole position.

Rosberg, meanwhile, won the opener in Melbourne and followed it up with three second places.

That meant that it was the German, not Hamilton, who headed to Spain in the overall lead -- albeit by a mere four points.

This season, Hamilton has started every race on pole and won in Australia, China and Bahrain while finishing second to Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in Malaysia.   Continued...

Formula One - F1 - Bahrain Grand Prix 2015 - Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Manama, Bahrain - 18/4/15. Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes celebrates his pole position
Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Hoch Zwei