Hamilton: Ferrari are half a second faster than us

2019 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton believes Ferrari are as much as half a second quicker than Mercedes ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

Ferrari set the quickest time of testing so far which put them three-tenths of a second ahead of Mercedes. But Hamilton believes their real margin could be even greater.

“I think it’s potentially half a second,” Hamilton told RaceFans and other media at the Circuit de Catalunya.

However he said Mercedes will make gains with its car between now and the first race of the 2019 F1 season.

“We will be analysing a lot from this test and there will be some mods that we’ll try and [implement] before the race. There’s obviously not a lot of time but over this next week we hopefully will gain another tenth at least in just our understanding of the car.

“The car is kind of old now, it’s worn and torn. So we’ll have new components, all that stuff will come along. So it’ll be interesting.”

However Hamilton admitted it was hard to fully appreciate the performance differences between the cars in testing.

“We really won’t know because everyone has different power modes, all this kind of thing. And fuel usage, you don’t know what fuel load everyone is on.

“So Melbourne will be kind of the first time you get a sight of it and then it’s going to take as always, every year I say, it’s like a good four races before you fully know just where you stand.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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35 comments on “Hamilton: Ferrari are half a second faster than us”

  1. It seems that Preseason testing is like this. Ferrarti comes out Blazing (to appease the Tifosi?), Mercedes seem to always say: Ferrari is faster. Is this to lull Ferrarti into a false sense of security?. Or is this year different?
    Only Australia knows for sure…
    And I spell Ferrarti that way for a reason…

    1. Did I just read that right, Vettel just did a short run on C3’s with his first lap a 1:16.7? I think that is more impressive than his headline 1:16.2 on the C5.

      (Quote from @asanator in the RaceFans Live feed today)

      If this is indeed the case, I would wager that’s the lowest fuel run Ferrari have done so far, probably not far away from an empty tank. Equivalent would be a 1:15.6 on C5’s if I’m not mistaken?

      If Lewis is correct (history would suggest this actually just more mind-games), then there’s only about 1 tenth more to get from the Merc. Interestingly, Lewis was consistently slower than Seb in all 3 speed traps, including their best runs I think.

    2. It’s just Hamilton feeding his own ego and that of his fans. He’ll say that Ferrari is faster then when he gets pole in Melbourne all his delusional fans will say that it’s because he ‘out performed’ the car.

      Give me a break.

  2. “We really won’t know because everyone has different power modes, all this kind of thing. And fuel usage, you don’t know what fuel load everyone is on.”

    So you know but you don’t know…..?

    1. Lewis will have a hard time explaining why he’s on pole in Melbourne….

      1. Not really:

        potentially: 1 (adv) with a possibility of becoming actual

        He said Ferrari are potentially half a second faster than Mercedes right now. But much can change, and much is unknown. Unfortunately, reason and nuance don’t make for good headlines.

        1. Your irony sensor may need a new battery.

      2. @greenflag i agree totally! but he will say for sure it was a miracle, and he didnt expect that much of a gain from his car or ferrari to make mistake in first corner/chicane… :) otherwise how would you explain? ferrari was .5 sec faster as everyone needed to see!

  3. It’s the 1st of March, Lewis. Not the 1st of April.

    1. I think he is right* give or take a few 10th.

      * Although the ‘faster than us’ would be wrong and should be ‘faster than we‘.
      But it seems I have lost that crusade.

      1. No-one says faster than we.

        1. I do, and many others.
          But then again I still say light rather than lite ;)

      2. The Royal us…

      3. 0.003 after today, and they sandbag the most. Yeah, BS.

      4. If you prefer “faster than we are” to “faster than us”, I’ll support you.

        “Faster than we” sounds like you’re taking the p&##. Literally.

        1. Only just read this @coldfly @grat lmao 😂

  4. The irony is we will get some bizarre result in Australia, as it always seems to throw out an odd result, so we will still be non the wiser……

    1. A Kimi victory, a Hulk podium, or even a Max dominance would be amusing to see.

      1. I’d be fine with that …

        1. @hugh11
          I’d be also with any of these!
          If Hulk was to win, it’d be my first choice. But that seems a long shot.

  5. Last year Ferrari wasn’t so strong on winter testing. There was a feeling that Red Bull was the bigger threat.
    They really showed their hand with pole positions on Bahrein and China, half a second faster than Mercedes.

    But this year is looking more like ’17 when Ferrari was faster from the go in winter testing and when the season began. It just didn’t have the engine right there yet to start on pole, so that made their lives a little more difficult. Now they do have and engine on par with Mercedes and a car that looks at least easier to improve, mercedes already has too many things attached to it

  6. Getting pretty boring now what with everyone’s insistence that Ferrari are the fastest, feels like everyone trying to pile the pressure on them knowing how desperate they are to win the championship

    1. Tifosi are waiting for another Red domination era after Schumacher’s millennium period…

      1. Yes, it’ll be such a relief after 9 years of two teams dominating the sport, for another team that used to dominate the sport, to dominate the sport.

        Wait– what was the question again?

      2. With Vettel as their lead driver, they’ll be waiting a long time! I’m no Hamilton fan, to put I mildly, but Vettel isn’t even in the same league as Hamilton.

  7. I don’t know if I’m more bored of hearing this kind of bs from Lewis or Toto.

  8. Mercedes are the best underdog history in Formula 1 ever.
    They already started complaining about graining too

    1. @johnmilk, you will find that Red Bull have been quoted as mentioning issues with graining tyres as well during the tests, as have a number of other teams.

      It sounds as if cold graining has been a wider issue in the pre-season tests. I believe that there is talk of a technical directive which has reduced the maximum operating temperature of the tyre blankets to 80 degrees, which is cooler than the normal operating temperature, which might be why cold graining is now being reported as being more of an issue than in the past.

  9. I really think Mercedes is gonna come out of the gate storming. Hence, I think those statements are full of crap.

    But let’s play along.

    If Ferrari is truly ahead, and that’s a big if, I’d guess it would be just a tenth. Two, tops. And that would be just okay. Just as Vettel did previous seasons (because he is a qualy monster), Hamilton (another qualy monster) would split the Ferrari duo in two rows regularly. And we’d still get a fight for the Championship.

    Regardless, Mercedes still has the upper hand: better staff, better development, champion at his peak, a truly wingman…

    Ferrari, oth, has everything to prove again. And Vettel has to raise his mental game.
    Even so, they may face two hard ways:
    1- Considering they may have the faster car, they must convert that into points. Last year, they blew it. So, that’s a great challenge already.
    2- Considering the difference is marginal between horses and arrows, Vettel must excel Hamilton’s moment, and that’s another big challenge.

    The odds are at Mercedes’ favour.

  10. We shall find out whether that’s the case or not on the qualifying day in Melbourne.

  11. I’d say Ferrari are three-thousandths of a second faster than Mercedes.

  12. Hamilton post Melbourne q3: I waited to wipe smile off your face

  13. The difference between this year and last year is, all the pundits collectively agree that the Ferrari seems faster – Saward, Scarbs, Chandook, etc.

    Both drivers (and onlookers) have also reported instability, lack of balance, and low downforce at the front.

    This wasn’t the case last year when the paddock consensus was Mercedes was fastest. And going by that, i have to agree.

    Of course, Mercedes can claw some of the deficit back by Melbourne, but it’ll be an uphill struggle to be ahead of Ferrari till after the summer break.

    I predict a Ferrari win for Melbourne.

  14. Oh well… Always fun to see moaning Ham cry to his engineers about why hes not leading. Maybe this year he’ll have to actually fight for his first genuine title…

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