Hamilton: Ferrari needs to pick it up in Formula 1 title fight

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says Ferrari will need to "pick it up" to fight for the Formula 1 title because his team is close to performing at 100%

Hamilton: Ferrari needs to pick it up in Formula 1 title fight

Hamilton finished second in last weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas to complete a fourth one-two of the season for Mercedes, the first time that feat has been managed in F1 world championship history.

Ferrari is 74 points behind Mercedes in the constructors' championship and its lead driver Sebastian Vettel, who has finished third in the last two grands prix, is 35 points behind championship leader Bottas.

Hamilton believes this is "definitely" the strongest form he has seen from Mercedes, and reckons his team is operating "in the high end of the 90s" in terms of percentage.

"Valtteri's really, clearly stepped up this year and is really happy in the car and really delivering and driving fantastically," said Hamilton.

"So, it's going to take some really great performances from both of us to out-perform each other. And that's how it should be.

"Hopefully at some stage Ferrari will be in the mix with us. I think this weekend [Baku], I do think they had the performance to be on the front row with both of their cars.

"From our data we saw that Seb didn't get a tow, for example, which is worth four or five tenths or something, so he probably would have been on pole had he got that tow and the race would have been maybe more exciting.

"It takes 100% to deliver throughout the weekend, which we, I think, were as close to that as possible.

"They're going to have to pick it up if they want to fight us."

Bottas leads the championship by one point, a virtue of claiming the fastest lap in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Although Vettel is already more than a race win's worth of points behind both Mercedes, Hamilton said it was "far too early" to say it was a straight fight with Bottas for the title.

"[In Baku] Ferrari had the pace in practice and qualifying," said Hamilton.

"If both cars delivered as we delivered, and both drivers delivered as we delivered, it would have been a lot closer.

"We still have to stay on our toes. We didn't bring an upgrade, and Ferrari did.

"So, it's a little bit of a surprise performance by us, because at some stage we will bring upgrades."

Defeat to his team-mate cost Hamilton the championship lead he had earned in the previous race in China.

He admitted that he "didn't deliver perfectly in all the areas that I should have". "I don't take it easy and lightly," Hamilton added.

"I'll be working hard and making sure I bring my head back strong for the next race."

shares
comments
Video: Did Ferrari hang Charles Leclerc out to dry with Baku strategy?

Previous article

Video: Did Ferrari hang Charles Leclerc out to dry with Baku strategy?

Next article

Video: From Toleman to Williams - every Ayrton Senna F1 car ranked

Video: From Toleman to Williams - every Ayrton Senna F1 car ranked
Load comments
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Plus

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says MARK GALLAGHER, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat Plus

The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt Plus

The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model? Plus

Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model?

Formula 1 provided its clearest example yet of what the 2022 cars are set to look like when it presented a full-scale concept to the world during the build-up to last weekend’s British Grand Prix. Underneath the special shiny livery was a design that hinted at the future, but teams will be digging into key areas that may reap differing results

Formula 1
Jul 20, 2021
British Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

British Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 British Grand Prix will live long in the memory for the dramatic clash between Formula 1's two title protagonists, which opened the door for other drivers to capitalise. One did so in spectacular fashion, while others fluffed their lines

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021