Hamilton: Red Bull could pose Mercedes a 'real challenge' in F1 2018

Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says Red Bull could pose a "real challenge" to four-time reigning champion outfit Mercedes this season

Hamilton: Red Bull could pose Mercedes a 'real challenge' in F1 2018

Mercedes technical director James Allison said there was "no doubt" Red Bull had emerged as a title threat after lagging behind both Mercedes and Ferrari for the majority of 2017.

Daniel Ricciardo set an unofficial lap record of the Barcelona circuit on Wednesday, before Sebastian Vettel bettered that effort on the penultimate day of pre-season testing on Thursday for Ferrari.

Hamilton, who was only ninth-quickest on Thursday after focusing on long runs in the afternoon, said the evidence from testing indicated the title fight would be close in 2018, and that Red Bull in particular looks menacing.

"The ultimate goal is that we hopefully have more teams fighting for the championship," said Hamilton. "That's only good for the sport.

"I think Red Bull could be a real challenge this year.

"Their car looks great, and I've not really seen anything of the Ferrari but I'm sure that's good as well. It's really exciting."

Like Hamilton, Ricciardo's Red Bull team-mate Verstappen did not elect to focus on single-lap pace on Thursday. The Dutchman said Red Bull's goal would be to get within three tenths of Mercedes' qualifying pace in order to challenge the Brackley squad.

"First of all, we have to be closer," he said.

"Once we are within three [or] four tenths, in qualifying, then at least you can fight them [Mercedes] in the race, because normally in the race it should be a bit closer.

"We're definitely targeting to be within those three tenths."

Hamilton dismissed Vettel's session-topping time as "irrelevant", but said he hoped Ferrari would be also be in the fight come the start of the season.

"I don't know if that's a good time," he said. "I don't know if it's a qualifying run, I don't really care. It's testing. It's really irrelevant, whatever the time.

"What matters is where we are in qualifying, in Q3 in the first race, when everyone's on lower fuel.

"We've not been on lower fuel yet, so I have no idea where the car can go.

"I hope [Vettel's lap] is good, so that means that they're strong, and that means that we've got a race on our hands."

Asked about Vettel's lap, Verstappen replied: "It's a good lap time, for sure.

"But we knew that they were going to be strong anyway, and Mercedes will be very strong as well. We just try to be very close."

shares
comments
F1 testing: Vettel warns against 'wrong conclusion' on record pace
Previous article

F1 testing: Vettel warns against 'wrong conclusion' on record pace

Next article

Renault F1 team rejects concerns over legality of blown rear wing

Renault F1 team rejects concerns over legality of blown rear wing
The pioneering pair who brought a new glory era to an F1 heavyweight  Plus

The pioneering pair who brought a new glory era to an F1 heavyweight 

With the team’s founder now retired and a new boss at the helm, change was coming to Brabham – change that would shape the future of Formula 1. In the third part of our four-part history of Brabham, DAMIEN SMITH examines the effect Bernie Ecclestone had on the team

The combination behind the Silverstone racing battles Hamilton called "F1 at its best" Plus

The combination behind the Silverstone racing battles Hamilton called "F1 at its best"

OPINION: The late battling in the British Grand Prix wowed Formula 1 fans and surely represents the best racing action of the season so far. And there was a cocktail of factors that created the action, from which Carlos Sainz emerged as a popular new winner

How Ferrari’s Monaco headache became its Silverstone migraine Plus

How Ferrari’s Monaco headache became its Silverstone migraine

OPINION: Ferrari won the British Grand Prix with Carlos Sainz, but it ultimately cost Charles Leclerc a chance to make a bigger dent in Max Verstappen's title lead by leaving the Monegasque out on old tyres towards the end. Like Monaco, indecision over strategy proved to be the Scuderia's biggest issue - and if the team doesn't reflect, the headache can only intensify

Formula 1
Jul 5, 2022
The five factors behind Sainz winning a British GP he’d twice lost Plus

The five factors behind Sainz winning a British GP he’d twice lost

Formula 1 has a newest race winner, in a grand prix the victor appeared to have lost twice, only to charge back to headline a sensational and dramatic British Grand Prix. From a massive start crash to a late sprint finish, here’s how five factors saw Carlos Sainz take his maiden grand prix win

Formula 1
Jul 4, 2022
Why there was no case to answer in Aston’s latest F1 copycat saga Plus

Why there was no case to answer in Aston’s latest F1 copycat saga

The appearance of a revised Aston Martin in Spain caused controversy but PAT SYMONDS explains why the FIA investigation found the Silverstone team had no case to answer

Formula 1
Jul 3, 2022
Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone Plus

Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone

After a slow start to Friday at Silverstone, all the Formula 1 teams had to effectively cram in a day’s worth of practice into one hour. But there was still plenty to learn and while Ferrari topped the times, a three-way battle is brewing ahead of the British Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jul 2, 2022
Why the future is bright for the British GP Plus

Why the future is bright for the British GP

It wasn’t so long ago the situation looked bleak at Silverstone with the future of the British Grand Prix under threat. But a transformation has seen it restored to one of the most important races on the Formula 1 calendar, with bigger and better to come

Formula 1
Jul 1, 2022
Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone? Plus

Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone?

For the first time in many years, none of the local racers starts among the favourites for the British Grand Prix. But George Russell, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris could have reasons for optimism

Formula 1
Jun 30, 2022