Sunday, 15 april 2018, 06:34 , by Paul Macdonald
Lewis Hamilton could not hide his disappointment after a below-par performance in the Chinese Grand Prix ended in a fourth-place finish, leaving the world champion well off the pace and struggling to keep up in his bid to retain the title.
In an action-packed race, Daniel Ricciardo emerged triumphant after a superb drive, while Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen was involved in an incident which ruined Sebastian Vettel's chance of glory, just a week after the Dutchman had impacted Hamilton's race by colliding with the Brit.
While the action was taking place around him, Hamilton was subdued in comparison, never threatening the leaders and only secured fourth via a time penalty given to Verstappen for the coming together with Vettel.
Hamilton admitted after the race that Mercedes are struggling at the moment, and that he has concerns about the season ahead.
He said: "“I was in no man's land today. I had no pace. I was just trying to hold on for whatever I had.
"It's a tough battle ahead of us, particularly on my side, I would say my side, but also us as a team.
“We've been underperforming. Yesterday and today have been a disaster on my side, so I've got to try and rectify that and try and get back into normal performance mode, otherwise more valuable points will be lost. I'm thankful a couple of incidents that happened ahead today kept us in the battle."
Ricciardo's win in China, combined with back-to-back victories for Vettel, means it is the first time that Mercedes have failed to pick up a win in the first three races of the season since the dawn of the V6 hybrid era.