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Lewis Hamilton has endured a torrid start to the season. The Briton, who was denied a record eighth world title on the last lap of the 2021 season in hugely controversial circumstances, finished 13th at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last weekend and sits seventh in the overall standings. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is already 58 points clear of Hamilton after four races in 2022.

Lewis Hamilton “has to admit” that Mercedes team-mate George Russell is the better driver currently, according to Ralf Schumacher, as the seven-time world champion struggles for pace.

Hamilton has collected just 28 points from the opening four races as Ferrari and Red Bull have dominated the early running. Charles Leclerc leads the way on 86 points ahead of defending champion Max Verstappen on 59.

The Briton’s sole podium finish came at the opening race in Bahrain – and that was only after late reliability issues forced the Red Bulls of Verstappen and Sergio Perez to retire. He finished 13th at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last weekend.

Russell has delivered consistent results in the sister Mercedes, finishing no lower than fifth in an impressive debut for the reigning constructor champions.

Hamilton shares the record for most F1 drivers’ titles with Michael Schumacher and the German’s brother says he must come to terms with Russell being better than him.

“He has to ask himself why George Russell is so much faster than him,” Schumacher wrote in his Sky Sports Germany column.

“A 13th place is of course not Hamilton’s ambition. He has to admit to himself that Russell is the better driver right now.

“If this continues in the next few weeks, it will be exciting in the team. There could be changes in the ranking.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has apologised to Hamilton for delivering an “undrivable” car and admitted the team “are not good enough” for the world champion.

Meanwhile, Hamilton has already written off his title hopes.
“I’m out of the championship, for sure,” he said.

“There is no question about that. But I’ll still keep working as hard as I can, to try and pull it back together somehow.”

But Schumacher stressed that Hamilton remains one of the fastest drivers on the grid and was right to continue in the sport.

“But I am far from saying that Hamilton missed the moment to retire. Lewis continues to be one of the best drivers in the field. That is clear.

“However, the new regulations require the drivers to adapt a little. Hamilton is not used to that. Russell, on the other hand, is a young driver. They obviously get along better with it.”

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