Lewis Hamilton says Sebastian Vettel needs to show his leadership qualities to help Red Bull emerge from a tough start to the season.

Red Bull has been hampered by the Renault power unit in the opening four races, being unable to challenge the dominant Mercedes, which has won all four. With the change in fortunes coming off the back of four consecutive world championships for Vettel, Hamilton - who has won the last three grands prix - says it is time for Vettel to show he can take Red Bull forward.

"Sebastian must now show his leadership, as the leader of the team," Hamilton is quoted as telling Bild. "When it comes to the crunch, you can transfer your strength as head of the team."

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And Hamilton believes Red Bull has plenty more to come from its car despite only having scored one podium finish so far this season.

"If I'm honest, I do not quite trust the situation at Red Bull. Clearly they still seem to have problems with its engine, but regardless of the power unit, it is a strong car. I'm sure that they can catch up yet."

After finishing fourth with Daniel Ricciardo and fifth with Vettel in China, Red Bull has moved up to second in the constructors' championship, 97 points behind Mercedes.