BARCELONA (Reuters) - Triple Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton said on Thursday he expects to be back up to speed in Spain this weekend after struggling for pace in Russia.
The Briton had been unable to explain his “very odd weekend” in Sochi late last month, but sounded more confident on Thursday that his Mercedes team has resolved the issues.
“It was just a bunch of small things all added up in one pot,” he told news conference at the Circuit de Catalunya, his pet bulldog Roscoe sleeping at his feet.
“Nothing in particular, no one single thing that was bigger than another, that just led us in slightly the wrong direction. It should be better this weekend.
“It’s a tire issue in the sense that the tire’s working range is quite small ... the whole weekend I generally wasn’t in the right window with it,” he added.
Formula One has bigger and wider tyres this season, with different characteristics to last year’s. Hamilton said all teams were learning each race how best to handle them.
“I think for some cars perhaps it works more immediately than for others. There’s different preparations,” he said.
“It’s a new tire which is exciting. They are very, very hard tyres so a hard, safe tire basically. It’s going to be interesting this weekend to see how they work.”
Hamilton finished fourth in Russia, ending a run of eight successive podiums, and dropped 13 points behind Ferrari’s championship leader Sebastian Vettel.
The race was won by Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas, his first in Formula One after joining the team in January following 2016 champion Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement.
Hamilton said the Finn’s breakthrough victory came as no surprise.
“I’ve said from the beginning of the season that he was in competition, so it’s no surprise that he would eventually get a win,” he said.
“But I was actually very happy. You saw at the end of the race I could at least be happy and share in the glory of the team beating the Ferraris and keeping us in the lead of the constructors’ championship.
“I was proud of what we had achieved – I just wish that I could have backed him up, in the sense of getting a one-two, but we can work on that maybe this weekend.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Richard Lough