Lewis Hamilton said he didn’t pay any attention to Sebastian Vettel’s record-breaking lap time in today’s test at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Vettel’s best time of 1’17.182 is over eight-tenths of a second quicker than anyone else has managed and 1.2 seconds faster than Hamilton’s best time so far.
But Hamilton said after today’s test “I didn’t even see what time they did.”
Told what Vettel’s time was Hamilton said: “I don’t know if that’s a good time. I think it’s faster than we did a couple of days ago.”
“I don’t know if they did it is a qualifying run. I don’t really know, I don’t really care in testing. It’s really irrelevant – someone said I was down in 11th today, it just doesn’t matter.
“What matters is Q3 in the first race when everyone’s on low fuel. For example for us we’ve not been on low fuel yet so I’ve no idea where the car can go. But I hope it’s a good time and it means that they’re strong and we can go racing.”
Hamilton also tipped Red Bull to be “a real challenge” this season. “Their car looks great,” he said.
He believes Mercedes have made gains with their new car but they haven’t fine-tuned its balance yet. “The car is an improvement from last year,” said Hamilton. “Last year’s car felt great, this car feels better.”
“The characteristics at the moment are not set perfectly. I don’t know whether or not we can set the car better but I’m sure we can. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll spend more time on that. Where we are compared to the rest I don’t know but it feels strong at the moment.”
“In the test today we were just getting through the different tyres to see how they were on a couple of laps, how long they lasted,” he explained.
“I come in the garage, I’m in the car doing emails, they say ‘let’s go’, I give the phone back and go out and do my laps, then come back in and do the same. There’s not a lot to learn.”
The team’s preparations will get more serious on the final day of running, Hamilton added.
“I think tomorrow we’re doing race systems, then it’s more like competition so you take it a lot more serious and take a lot more notes because the car’s behaving differently between each run.”
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2018 F1 season
- Honda’s jet division helped F1 engineers solve power unit problem
- McLaren Racing losses rise after Honda split
- Ricciardo: Baku “s***show” was Red Bull’s fault
- “Drive to Survive Episode 1: All to Play For” reviewed
- F1’s television and social media audiences rose last year