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Sport Hamilton: Ferrari now 'very hard to beat'

12:50  23 september  2019
12:50  23 september  2019 Source:   skysports.com

Lewis Hamilton "down for hard racing" ahead of Singapore Grand Prix

  Lewis Hamilton Lewis Hamilton has warned he is "down for hard racing" following an incident with Charles Leclerc in Monza two weeks ago. Leclerc almost collided with Hamilton as the current world champion tried to overtake and Hamilton has said he is ready to battle for victory in Singapore. The Brit explained: “I look forward. There’s nothing I can do about the past. I’m down for hard racing.” Ferrari driver Leclerc received a warning for the incident at the Italian Grand Prix and, following the conclusion of the race, Hamilton admitted he would be willing to change his style of driving as long as there are clear rules and punishments.

Lewis Hamilton suspects Mercedes are going to find it " hard to beat " rejuvenated Ferrari in F1's upcoming races - but has backed the world "But clearly their car works really well everywhere now so it's going to be very hard to beat them, particularly as they are so quick on the straights.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says that Ferrari could mount a serious challenge at this weekend’s Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix. Ferrari star Sebastian

Lewis Hamilton wearing a red hat © Getty

Lewis Hamilton suspects Mercedes are going to find it "hard to beat" rejuvenated Ferrari in F1's upcoming races - but has backed the world champions to rise to the renewed challenge.

Against all pre-weekend expectations in Singapore, on a track that demands high downforce - a perceived 2019 Ferrari weakness - the Scuderia finished first and second in Sunday's race to extend their winning run to three races - their best sequence for 11 years.

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As a result, Mercedes have now suffered three consecutive race-day defeats for just the second time in the last six seasons.

Leclerc sets surprise Ferrari pace

  Leclerc sets surprise Ferrari pace Charles Leclerc unexpectedly set the pace for Ferrari in the final practice session at the Singapore GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton.Although Leclerc has won the past two races, the slow-speed nature of the Marina Bay street circuit has not been expected to suit their car and Friday's timesheet - when they finished 0.8s off Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen's pace - appeared to underline such theories.

Lewis Hamilton says it will be tough to beat Ferrari in the Bahrain Grand Prix despite starting from pole position. While Hamilton took his fourth consecutive pole position - the first time he has done that in his F1 career - Ferrari looked extremely competitive on long runs in FP2. With Sebastian Vettel starting

Lewis Hamilton has conceded that Ferrari looks ' very , very strong' right now , but he says it is not unusual for his Italian rival While Hamilton 's Mercedes team has not focused on delivering headline times at Barcelona this week, Ferrari has impressed with both the pace and reliability of its new SF90.

(AP Photo/Vincent Thian) © Getty (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

And with Ferrari now seemingly having found a breakthrough with their car on tracks which do not simply require horsepower - the SF90's established strength - Hamilton is expecting a more consistent fight.

"I'm a realist so I see the situation we're in and they've just come up with some sort of upgrade that's perhaps put their car… maybe they've had a good car all year and it just wasn't working in the right window," said Hamilton on Sunday night.

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"Who knows, because it's unlikely they've brought a massive, massive upgrade that's brought 20-30 points [of downforce] to something which performance-wise is probably what you'd expect they've taken here.

Hamilton shocked by Ferrari surge

  Hamilton shocked by Ferrari surge Lewis Hamilton admitted he did not know where Ferrari suddenly found their Singapore GP pace after being beaten to pole.F1's world champion will start between polesitter Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel at the head of the grid for Sunday's race after a thrilling qualifying session in which Ferrari belied pre-weekend expectations that the battle for honours on the street track would be between Mercedes and Red Bull.

Lewis Hamilton believes it will be difficult to halt Ferrari 's winning start to the season at the Chinese Grand Prix but still thinks Mercedes are the strongest team. Sebastian Vettel followed up his victory in the season-opening race in Australia by topping the podium in Bahrain last Sunday.

"They are very quick this weekend. They have great race pace," Hamilton said. Hamilton had similar fears about Ferrari 's long-run speed in China last weekend and the Englishman won by Disappointed, because Sebastian beat me. "If I was second it would have been still damage limitation

"But clearly their car works really well everywhere now so it's going to be very hard to beat them, particularly as they are so quick on the straights. We can't compete with them on the straights at the moment."

REUTERS/Thomas Peter © Reuters REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Mercedes must 'pull our socks up'

Despite Ferrari's winning run, Hamilton and Mercedes' consistent winning form before the August summer break means they remain firmly on course to defend their world titles.

Hamilton actually extended his title lead over team-mate Valtteri Bottas to 65 points, while Leclerc, Ferrari's lead runner, is 96 points adrift with 156 points to play for over the final six races.

"We have won before with not the best car but it's really how we deliver over the weekend.

"At the moment they are delivering better in the operations area. Today I did enough in the race in the first stint to come out and lead but the whole processes didn't work as well as it should do. So we've just got to re-huddle, get back together, work hard and move forwards."

Hamilton: 'Painful' missing out on win

  Hamilton: 'Painful' missing out on win Lewis Hamilton believes he could have "easily won" the Singapore GP if Mercedes took a "risk" with their strategy.Hamilton only finished fourth on Sunday despite appearing to have the pace to challenge the Ferraris from second on the grid.

Hamilton concerned with Ferrari 's race pace despite taking pole, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen lining up second and fourth. "I feel great, I feel very happy. Coming into the weekend the target was to really master this track and get the car into an area that I'm really comfortable with and

Hamilton concerned with Ferrari 's race pace despite taking pole, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen lining up second and fourth. Ferrari demonstrated strong race pace over the Friday practice sessions and Hamilton , who was beaten by Vettel in Malaysia, is expecting a big challenge

REUTERS/Tim Chong © Reuters REUTERS/Tim Chong

The world champion added: "Of course it's got tighter and tighter as the season has gone on, we work on that, but at the same time we've just got to be doing a better job.

"We were doing such a great job at the beginning of the year and we have this gap, but the gap can easily go. I'm under no illusions, my gap in the championship - it's not won yet.

"We've got to pull our socks up. Collectively we can do better. But we win and lose as a team and we all don't feel great right now."

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