Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes is “shedding blood, sweat and tears” to ensure it comes out on top in the 2018 Formula 1 title fight. 

Mercedes leads Ferrari by 17 points in the constructors’ championship, while Hamilton trails chief title rival Sebastian Vettel by a single point after the opening seven races of the season, with the tight battle for supremacy at the top of the F1 pecking order set to continue at this weekend’s French Grand Prix.

Vettel and Ferrari made a strong start to the season by winning the first two rounds, before Hamilton hit back with back-to-back victories in Baku and Spain to take the championship lead, though the Briton struggled to fifth place in Canada last time out as Vettel dominated to become the first driver to move onto three wins this year.  

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“Naturally everyone is shedding their blood, sweat and tears to make sure we win this season, everyone feels the pain, everyone feels the ups and downs,” Hamilton said. “The cool thing is when you come out of those meetings and everyone acknowledges that they are things that can be done better, and that will do better, rather than making excuses - that’s why this is a winning team. 

“Everyone has got the same ‘we will do better, some how, some way, I’ll find some way, I’ll find the time, I’ll find the performance’ [mentality]. We’ll make it. So we go about our jobs, that’s why this is the best team. On my side, I’ll be like ‘these areas I can do better and I’ll make sure I bring it with me next time’.

“It’s something that Toto installed in the team ages ago and it’s something that when they’re having their big meetings back at the factory they’re very, very openly critical,” he added. “The engineers can get sometimes sensitive, like ‘no, you can’t say that’, but no, it’s like Toto said we’re in this comfort zone where we can say where we want.”

Mercedes is set to decide whether to run its anticipated engine upgrade on Friday as F1 returns to France, having been forced to delay its updated power unit in Montreal after encountering a late reliability concerns. 

Reflecting on his performance across the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, Hamilton conceded: “The weekend got away from us. When you have those problems where you can’t lean on the car you just have to back off because you can’t exploit or push the car 100 percent and that’s where I was really stuck between a rock and a hard place. 

“Valtteri did a great job. I can’t say that isn’t going to happen again during the season but I’m definitely doing everything I can to make sure it isn’t the case this weekend. In the race there was a lot of time lost, I definitely got into a groove, but performance-wise we were down a long way.”

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