F1: Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton says title race is still ‘up in the air’
With Mercedes running at full potential the British driver expects more to come from Ferrari and Red Bull
Lewis Hamilton may have led Mercedes to a third successive one-two but the reigning Formula 1 world champion has warned that title rivals Ferrari and Red Bull are yet to reach their full potential.
Hamilton won last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes enjoyed their best-ever start to a season.
After three races Mercedes have won 130 points while Ferrari are 57 points behind the defending constructors’ champions on 73. Red Bull are third with 52 points.
In the drivers’ standings Hamilton is top with 68 points, Bottas is second with 62 and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is third with 39. Ferrari duo Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc have 37 and 36 points respectively.
Operating at full potential
Despite another one-two Hamilton believes that Mercedes have maximised their W10 car, Sky Sports reports, while their rivals are yet to reach full performance.
The 34-year-old said: “We’re over-delivering a little bit at the moment to our true, true potential. I think with what we have, we are operating at [our] full potential. But there will be more performance and improvements to come in the future, we will make steps forward.
“They’ve got a good car, the Ferraris, it just doesn’t look like they’re extracting their full potential on the weekends. And then the execution doesn’t look as faultless as they have shown in the past. We all have ups and downs, but that’s where we are really diligent in making sure our processes are as accurate as they can be.”
Another close battle
British driver Hamilton says that Mercedes are not getting ahead of themselves after their perfect start to the campaign and the team will keep working hard ahead of the next race in Azerbaijan on 28 April.
“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves, we’re naturally keeping our heads down and working,” he added. “But we’ve got another close battle on our hands.
“I don’t know where the Red Bulls were but I know that the Ferraris are right there. I think we’ve got races coming up that could potentially suit them more.
“We didn’t expect to have the [advantage] in Melbourne, we didn’t expect to have the deficit [in Bahrain] and we didn’t expect this weekend to have the bit of advantage we had here. So it’s still up in the air.
“But ultimately as a team we’ve collectively performed, and we’ve really, really delivered on the weekends so we’ve just got to continue to do so.
“The key this year is to deliver near-perfect weekends - weekend-in, weekend-out - and that has to be the goal.”