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Hamilton: Time for Vettel to prove he can lead

Apr 27, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

Malaysia F1 GP Auto Racing AP

Lewis Hamilton has said that it is time for Sebastian Vettel to step up and prove himself to be a true team leader at Red Bull after the defending world champions’ poor start to the season.

Red Bull currently occupies second place in the constructors’ championship, some 97 points behind Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have made a scintillating start to the year, winning all four races and claiming three one-two finishes.

Having won the last four titles, Vettel’s hopes of making it five in a row already appear to be slim. However, Hamilton – who has won the past three races – has challenged Vettel to prove himself as a leader and rally the Red Bull team around him.

“Sebastian must now show his leadership, as the leader of the team,” the Briton explained to Bild. “When it comes to the crunch, you can transfer your strength as head of the team.”

Mercedes’ preparation for the 2014 season has given the team a clear lead over the rest of the field, whilst Red Bull has worked hard to recover after a disastrous pre-season. Hamilton still considers them to be title rivals, and is very wary of what Vettel and teammate Daniel Ricciardo could do.

“If I’m honest, I do not quite trust the situation at Red Bull,” he said. “Clearly they still seem to have problems with its engine, but regardless of the power unit, it is a strong car. I’m sure that they can catch up yet.”

Red Bull will be hoping to cut the gap at the next race, the Spanish Grand Prix, where all of the teams will be introducing their first major upgrade packages that should give the car better performance.

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