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Lewis: Mercedes clearly no longer F1's quickest team

From ESPN - April 16, 2018

Lewis Hamilton says the first three races of the 2018 season prove Mercedes can no longer claim to be the team to beat in Formula One.

Having lost the opening two races to Ferrari, Mercedes was expected to be back on top in China but it was comfortably beaten in qualifying by the Italian team -- former world champion Damon Hill likened that performance to the end of Mercedes' "empire". While Valtteri Bottas ultimately lost victory in the race due to an ill-timed Safety Car Hamilton struggled for pace throughout the weekend -- one he later labelled "a disaster" -- and could only manage fourth position.

The result marked the first time Mercedes has failed to win three consecutive races since the introduction of V6 turbo engines in 2014. Hamilton thinks Mercedes has slipped behind Ferrari and maybe even Red Bull, who won the Chinese Grand Prix with Daniel Ricciardo.

Asked if he felt more or less confident about winning the title now, he replied: "Has not changed my thinking, my goals are still the same. It is clear from this weekend that we are not the quickest.

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