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Lewis: Could be trouble ahead

Sky Sports Sky Sports 14/06/2016 skysports.com
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Lewis Hamilton is braced for more twists and turns in the 2016 F1 title race - and is determined to maximise his current run of peerless form for as long as he can.

43 points adrift of Nico Rosberg two weeks ago following a troubled-filled start to the new season, Hamilton has closed to within nine points of the summit courtesy of his victories in Monaco and Canada.

But while Hamilton's title hopes are currently in the ascendancy, the Mercedes driver is aware that more bumps in the road are inevitable due to the legacy of his early-season mechanical failures.

F1's rules restrict each driver to just five power units, an allowance Hamilton is already close to exhausting, while he is also just one reprimand shy of an automatic five-place grid penalty. With five more races to follow before F1 embarks on its summer holidays in August, Hamilton is wary that a penalty may be just around the corner to halt his recent momentum.

"I know l have fewer engines, so l know beyond the break it is likely l will need to take a sixth engine," Hamilton told The Times. "I know that at some stage l am going to start last and that joker that will come along and play an integral part at a race weekend."

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But likely grid penalties aren't Hamilton's only cause for concern. The threat from Red Bull and Ferrari is mounting. Rosberg remains a dogged opponent. And while the pace of the Mercedes W06 is the envy of the rest of the field, it has become clear that the Mercedes package has a critical weakness with both of the team's cars swallowed up off the start line in Canada.

It's a problem which has become chronic: Hamilton has started four of this year's races from pole position and is still yet to hold the lead into any of this year's grands prix. 

"This clutch is definitely catching us out," Hamilton said to The Daily Telegraph. "I did the [start] procedure exactly as I was asked to, so I didn't make a mistake with it. We are going to investigate why. It is not the first time that it has been like that. They don't quite understand it so we have to work on it."

At least Mercedes won't have any work to do on boosting Hamilton's morale. Having cut a dejected figure following his collision with Rosberg in Spain and again after a difficult qualifying in Monaco, the world champion has his mojo back after defeating Daniel Ricciardo in Monte Carlo and then Sebastian Vettel to victory in Montreal.

Getty © Provided by BSkyB Getty Heading to Baku, host of this weekend's European GP, Hamilton is on a roll.

"There has never been a doubt this year in terms of my speed, or what I can do in the car, not at all. But of course you never know what can happen next. There was one problem after another.

"It would be amazing to go to Silverstone and have this performance. But I need to win every race. I want to win every race. It is not a need, it is a desire and it has shown once again I am just as focused as any of the guys here. I didn't make any mistakes and that's comforting to see that focus and being that confident and comfortable in the car."

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