Sport: Hamilton expects Ferrari to be ahead - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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SportHamilton expects Ferrari to be ahead

17:45  14 march  2019
17:45  14 march  2019 Source:   skysports.com

Hamilton: Mercedes deficit to Ferrari 'potentially half a second'

Hamilton: Mercedes deficit to Ferrari 'potentially half a second' Lewis Hamilton is concerned Mercedes could find itself as much as half a second off the pace of Ferrari at the start of the season. Ferrari is being tipped as the early-season favourites following its performance over winter testing, the Italian outfit registering the fastest laptime over the two weeks in Barcelona. Mercedes has waited until the final day of the second test to increase its pace, but the team’s best time on the morning session was three tenths slower than Ferrari’s benchmark. Although unsure as to what the exact gap is, Hamilton admits Mercedes could be 0.5s behind by the season-opener in Melbourne in two weeks time.

Daniel Ricciardo was third with Renault, ahead of Vettel. " Ferrari are very, very strong right now," said Hamilton , who was 12th fastest, just behind Bottas. " Ferrari always looks particularly strong, for the last few years they have looked very strong, so that is to be expected ," Hamilton said.

Lewis Hamilton says he expects a "serious fight" with Ferrari at the British Grand Prix this weekend. Hamilton set the overall fastest time of the day in first practice, 0.065secs faster than Vettel's fastest lap in the second session and 0.5secs ahead of the Ferrari in the same conditions in

Hamilton expects Ferrari to be ahead © Getty

F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has warned Mercedes are on the backfoot when they start their title defence in this weekend's season-opening Australian GP.

After an ultra-impressive winter, Ferrari are expected to be the quickest team when the new season begins in Melbourne.

"We have work to do," Hamilton admitted.

Mercedes struggled to keep pace with Ferrari in winter testing, and although the pre-season action has a reputation for delivering misleading clues as to the real pecking order, Hamilton added: "It wasn't difficult to read, it was clear."

Hamilton embraces Ferrari challenge

Hamilton embraces Ferrari challenge Lewis Hamilton has lauded Ferrari's work over the winter and believes Mercedes have a "hill to climb" in the F1 2019 title race. Ferrari, who have pushed Mercedes close in the last two seasons, enjoyed a stellar Barcelona test and Hamilton even claimed the Italian outfit had a "half-a-second" advantage - though the world champion did defy his own prediction by all-but-matching Sebastian Vettel's pre-season best on the final day. But Hamilton is sure that Ferrari have made a big step with their SF90, while also insisting Mercedes' car has not been "performing optimal".

Lewis Hamilton expects Ferrari to challenge Mercedes in Formula One this season despite a one-two finish for the Silver Arrows in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. "There are going to be races where we are five to 10 seconds ahead and races where we will be wheel-to-wheel."

Lewis Hamilton is expecting a response from Ferrari in the US as they attempt to keep the champagne on ice a little longer. But Hamilton has insisted he is not thinking about the title or the celebrations and is preparing himself for Ferrari to overcome their mistakes and troubles and bring

But Hamilton later told Sky Sports: "It might be closer than we think, it might be a bigger gap than we think. We don't know what they've got up their sleeve."

Some paddock analysts believe Ferrari, who will pair Charles Leclerc with Sebastian Vettel this year, could be as much as four-tenths of a second ahead for the Albert Park curtain-raiser.

"At this point, we are all hunters and we are all hunted," said Vettel. "Hopefully going away from here we will be the hunted.

"Last year's winter testing didn't go well. This year we are more prepared, our car seems to work fine."

Hamilton: Mercedes testing form "quite clear" to read

Hamilton: Mercedes testing form Lewis Hamilton has reiterated that Mercedes “has work to do” on the eve of the 2019 Formula 1 season and that its testing form is “quite clear” to read. Despite having achieved five consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ titles, Mercedes appears to be behind chief rivals Ferrari entering the new season. Mercedes struggled to find a suitable car balance in the opening week and while the team’s fortunes appeared to improve with a raft of aerodynamic updates introduced for week two, Hamilton suggested that the gap to Ferrari was “potentially half a second” after the final day of pre-season testing.

Daniel Ricciardo was third with Renault, ahead of Vettel. " Ferrari are very, very strong right now," said Hamilton , who was 12th fastest, just behind Bottas. " Ferrari always looks particularly strong, for the last few years they have looked very strong, so that is to be expected ," Hamilton said.

Daniel Ricciardo was third with Renault, ahead of Vettel. " Ferrari are very, very strong right now," said Hamilton , who was 12th fastest, just behind Bottas. " Ferrari always looks particularly strong, for the last few years they have looked very strong, so that is to be expected ," Hamilton said.

He continued: "We'll obviously try to have a great, smooth weekend. It's always nice to kick off the season with a good result."

But Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas countered: "As a team we've learned a lot from the package we had in testing and how we can optimise it better for the first race. I feel we have made improvements already and I'm confident we can be in a better shape.

"It's only guessing where we are going to be but, as we last were on track, we are chasing Ferrari and we'll see where we are here."

Speaking at a press conference, the assembled drivers all paid an emotional tribute to FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting, who passed away on Thursday night.

While Ferrari are predicted to be the early-season frontrunners, the rest of the pecking order is far less well defined.

Mercedes fastest in FP2, Ferrari fifth and ninth

Mercedes fastest in FP2, Ferrari fifth and ninth Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheet ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, while 2019 pre-season favourites Ferrari ended fifth and ninth in second practice ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. Mercedes hit the front early in the session, with Hamilton and Bottas rising to the top of the times on the medium compound tyres. Suspicions of Ferrari sandbagging were raised when Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc failed to beat Mercedes’ medium tyre times, despite running the soft rubber for a qualifying simulation run. When Mercedes switched to the red striped compound, Bottas improved by 0.

Daniel Ricciardo was third with Renault, ahead of Vettel. " Ferrari are very, very strong right now," said Hamilton , who was 12th fastest, just behind Bottas. " Ferrari always looks particularly strong, for the last few years they have looked very strong, so that is to be expected ," Hamilton said.

" Ferrari are very, very strong right now," said Hamilton , who was 12th fastest, just behind Bottas. "As you have seen, they are racking up great mileage as well and it " Ferrari always looks particularly strong, for the last few years they have looked very strong, so that is to be expected ," Hamilton said.

Red Bull, who have switched to Honda power, are thought to be in close proximity to Mercedes while Alfa Romeo and Haas may well challenge Renault to be the 'best of the rest'.

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"I'm excited to see the pecking order," said Daniel Ricciardo ahead of his debut for Renault. "We could draw some conclusions from testing but not much.

"In the second week, we had some new parts which seemed more exciting for our development. But judging the top three cars, I don't even know where they stand."

Red Bull have been encouraged by the first steps they have taken with Honda, whose engine ran faultless during testing.

"So far, it's been good and I was very happy by how everyone has been working together," said Max Verstappen. "In terms of performance, it's difficult to judge where we are."

The first practice session of the year begins at 1am UK time on Friday morning, with Sunday's race, which will be exclusively live on Sky Sports F1, underway at 5.10am.

Sky Sports F1 is the home of live and exclusive F1 - and new and existing customers in the UK can now get the channel for just £10 extra a month, our best-ever offer.

Gallery: Runners and riders (Deutsche Welle)

Hamilton expects Ferrari to bounce back.
Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes should expect a Ferrari resurgence in F1 2019's next races, claiming the Scuderia will "come back strong".

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