Lewis Hamilton admits he had forgotten what it's like to lead in a race

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Lewis Hamilton admits he had forgotten what it's like to lead in a race

Hamilton's last win came in Saudi Arabia back in 2021
Hamilton's last win came in Saudi Arabia back in 2021Reuters
Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton (39) said he had forgotten what it feels like to lead a race after the Mercedes driver was at the front for the first nine laps of the sprint at the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday.

After taking the lead from McLaren's Lando Norris off the start, the Briton was eventually caught and passed by triple world champion Max Verstappen.

The Red Bull driver was lapping a second quicker than Hamilton and overtook him on the Shanghai International Circuit's long back straight before going on to win.

Mercedes have endured a difficult time over the last few years, with Hamilton's last win coming in Saudi Arabia in 2021.

"I forgot what it felt like to be up ahead and it felt good for the short while that I had it, so I was grateful for the moment," Hamilton told a press conference.

"To be on the front row, I don't remember having had that view for a long time."

Red Bull, who won 21 out of 22 races last season and three of the first four in the current campaign, look strong for the main race on Sunday, with Verstappen carving out a 13-second advantage over Hamilton on the way to the finish line.

"Max, I didn't even put up a fight against because he was coming at a serious, serious pace advantage," Hamilton said.

He added, however, that he had found out a lot about the car from the sprint and would make adjustments to the setup ahead of qualifying later in the day.

"To be able to fight into turn one for the lead reminded me why I love what I do ... and I know we've got to work fairly hard to get back to more consistent racing like this," added Hamilton, who is joining Ferrari for next season.

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