Lewis Hamilton reckons Ferrari sandbagging in Spanish GP practice

Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton has suggested the Ferraris were "sandbagging" in Friday practice ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton reckons Ferrari sandbagging in Spanish GP practice

The Mercedes swept opening-day running at Barcelona, with Valtteri Bottas quickest in practice one and Hamilton setting the afternoon pace, while Ferrari - on a run of three straight poles with Sebastian Vettel - was slowest of the three leading teams.

Vettel, the faster of the two Scuderia cars in both sessions, was 0.95s off the pace in the first session before improving to 0.326s adrift in the afternoon.

But Hamilton was not convinced Ferrari's form has dropped off.

"I think it's still very close," he said.

"Not really quite sure where Ferrari's pace was today, but they're probably sandbagging or something. They'll bring it out tomorrow.

"The Red Bull's obviously very close to my pace, so I think, again, it's going to be relatively close between the top three teams.

"I can't really tell you which one's quickest at the moment - because again, fuelling [levels], and maybe one didn't get their lap or something like that. Tomorrow we'll get a much better understanding."

Team-mate Bottas offered a similar assessment to Hamilton's, saying: "Things can really change from Friday to Saturday, we know that Ferrari is still going to be there tomorrow, and Red Bull looks quick."

Vettel insisted that he pushed for the best possible lap time on Friday, and that overnight improvements would not "come for free".

"You always try to go as fast as you can," he said. "Usually we're able to find some performance overnight so we'll try to do the same for tomorrow.

"It doesn't come for free, we have to work for it.

"We can improve, I know there's a little bit more in the car and a little bit more in me if I get everything together. It should be OK tomorrow, where we end up I don't know. It could be P1 or P6."

Vettel said the updates brought by Ferrari to Spain - which included the mounting of the mirrors to the halo and tweaks to the SF71H's floor - all "seemed to work".

"The car's OK, the updates are working, I can feel the car is better," he said.

"The biggest change came from the tyres, they seem to be quite a bit different."

Pirelli has elected to bring tyres with a thinner tread to Barcelona - as well as the Paul Ricard and Silverstone F1 races later in the year - and Hamilton said he, like Vettel, noticed the difference with the Spanish GP specification.

"I think the race is going to be interesting, just with the tyres," he said.

"We've got much different tyres this weekend, given that there's less rubber on them, so they're feeling just different, sliding a lot more."

shares
comments
Spanish GP: Force India F1 team fined for unsafe Perez FP2 release
Previous article

Spanish GP: Force India F1 team fined for unsafe Perez FP2 release

Next article

Fernando Alonso: McLaren Formula 1 car upgrades are 'much better'

Fernando Alonso: McLaren Formula 1 car upgrades are 'much better'
Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons Plus

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career

Formula 1
Jun 24, 2022
How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Plus

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022
Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left? Plus

Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left?

Having extended his Formula 1 points lead with victory in Canada, Max Verstappen has raised his game further following his 2021 title triumph. Even on the days where Red Bull appears to be second best to Ferrari, Verstappen is getting the most out of the car in each race. So, does he have any weaknesses that his title rivals can exploit?

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2022
How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector Plus

How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector

In 2026, Formula 1 plans to make the switch to a fully sustainable fuel, as the greater automotive world considers its own alternative propulsion methods. Biogasoline and e-fuels both have merit as 'drop-in' fuels but, equally, both have their shortcomings...

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far Plus

The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far

OPINION: Carlos Sainz came close to winning in Monaco but needed that race’s specific circumstances for his shot at a maiden Formula 1 victory to appear. Last weekend in Canada, he led the line for Ferrari in Charles Leclerc’s absence from the front. And there’s a key reason why Sainz has turned his 2022 form around

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

Plenty of high scores but just a single perfect 10 from the first Montreal race in three years, as Max Verstappen fended off late pressure from Carlos Sainz. Here’s Autosport’s assessment on the Formula 1 drivers from the Canadian Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022
Why “faster” Ferrari couldn’t beat Red Bull in Canadian GP Plus

Why “faster” Ferrari couldn’t beat Red Bull in Canadian GP

On paper the Canadian Grand Prix will go down as Max Verstappen’s latest triumph, fending off late pressure from Carlos Sainz to extend his Formula 1 world championship lead. But as safety car periods, virtual and real, shook up the race Ferrari demonstrated it can take the fight to Red Bull after recent failures

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022
The in-demand helmet designer creating works of art for F1's best Plus

The in-demand helmet designer creating works of art for F1's best

GP Racing’s OLEG KARPOV pays a visit to designer Jens Munser, to observe the production of Mick Schumacher’s special helmet for the Miami Grand Prix. What follows is some fascinating insight on the mindsets of Mick’s dad Michael, and family friend Sebastian Vettel

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2022