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Lewis Hamilton 'Championship is not won yet'

Lewis Hamilton 'Championship is not won yet'
© Reuters
Hamilton will head to Sochi for Sunday's Russian Grand Prix with a 96-point cushion over Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen.

Lewis Hamilton has said he is under no illusion that his championship lead could evaporate, calling on his Mercedes team to "pull their socks up".

Hamilton will head to Sochi for Sunday's Russian Grand Prix with a 96-point cushion over Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, while Sebastian Vettel – who triumphed in Singapore on Sunday – is a further six back.

It seems improbable that Hamilton will not close out the Formula One World Championship with just six races remaining and 156 points left to play for.

But following Mercedes' strategy mistake which saw him finish fourth in Singapore, Hamilton believes his team need to pull their finger out.

"I am under no illusion that my gap in the championship could disappear," said Hamilton. "It is not won yet.

"We need to pull our socks up and get the f*** on basically. We can squeeze more out of this car and individually we can do better. We don't feel great but I think that is a good thing.

"If anyone in the team feels relaxed right now, they need talking to because we should all be feeling the pain.

"We will go to Russia and try to rev ourselves up and do a better job – but these next few races are going to be tough."

Hamilton's Mercedes team won the opening eight rounds this season, with the Briton triumphing six times.

But since his commanding win at the French Grand Prix in June, Hamilton has won just two of the ensuing seven rounds. His team-mate Valtteri Bottas has not tasted victory since April.

Ferrari have instead emerged from the summer break as the team to beat, with the Scuderia winning three consecutive races for the first time in 11 years.

Hamilton, who will travel to Kuala Lumpur for a Mercedes sponsorship event this week before heading on to Sochi, was victorious in Russia last season.

But the 34-year-old Briton fears it will be difficult to wrestle the momentum back from a resurgent Ferrari.

"I am a realist so I see the situation we are in," he said. "Clearly, Ferrari's car works really well everywhere now so it is going to be very hard to beat them.

"Of course, the battle has got tighter and we welcome that. But at the same time we have just got to be doing a better job.

"We did such a great job at the beginning of the year. We have just got to re-huddle and work together."

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Lewis Hamilton during Singapore GP practice on September 20, 2019
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States22251764
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12211750
Great BritainGreat Britain11121235
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events

· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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