Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton isn’t getting complacent with his back-to-back wins in Germany and Hungary before the summer break, admitting that Ferrari is “still slightly ahead” of Mercedes with regard to performance.
Hamilton stormed to a sixth Grand Prix victory at the Hungaroring on Sunday, but remained adamant that second and third placed Ferrari drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, “had the pace this weekend.”
“Today I had them covered, but had they been on pole, we would have struggled,” Hamilton admitted in the aftermath of his win, which leaves him 24 points ahead of Vettel in the 2018 World Drivers Championship with eight rounds to go.
Sebastian Vettel seemed to agree with Hamilton’s perspective, saying he’s “relaxed” ahead of Formula 1’s mandatory two-week shut down before the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August.
“I am happy to see that the car is fast, it has worked well on every track so far, so I think this is the most important thing,” he said post-race in Hungary.
“The goal is now to really pull together and become even stronger for the second half,” Hamilton said, admitting that his team has to make improvements in order to close the gap.
Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff told crash.net before Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix that Mercedes were losing four tenths to Ferrari in just the first sector of the tight and twisty Hungaroring.
He said the four-tenths were down to Ferrari’s power-unit, which he described as the “best” in Formula 1.
If true, the gap could be even larger when the power-sensitive Belgian Grand Prix weekend rolls around in late August, directly after the summer break – as Ferrari is expected to introduce its third-generation power unit.
Said power unit was tested by Ferrari customer teams Haas and Alfa Romeo Sauber over the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.
“We need to keep on taking it one race at a time if we want to come out on top,” Wolff said after the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The same sense of confidence was alive at Ferrari – and even alive in Kimi Raikkonen’s generally stubborn and blunt mind.
“I’m sure we can get higher podium positions,” he said, adding that things can “change quickly” in Formula 1.
“Our car has a big potential,” Vettel added after the Hungarian Grand Prix.