Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2019

Hamilton: Mercedes not “talking BS” over testing form

2019 Australian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes was not bluffing over its testing form after he identified rivals Ferrari as the pace-setters ahead of the first race of the 2019 F1 season.

The reigning world champion said Ferrari is half a second quicker than Mercedes during pre-season testing. Speaking in today’s FIA press conference Hamilton said the testing pace was “not difficult to read, I think it’s quite clear.

“It’s difficult to know what everyone’s doing,” he continued. “Naturally we won’t fully know until we get out in the car tomorrow. Come qualifying you get a better picture and usually over the first few races is when you get an idea of where everyone stands.

“But we said we have work to do, we weren’t talking [bullshit], we have work to do.”

Hamilton described how team principal Toto Wolff “rallied the troops” following the tests in Spain.

“We’ve got some incredible people within the team. The energy is really… it’s inspiring to see so many people so pumped, pulling together, the communication’s better than ever.

“Just after the test I went back and Toto rallied the troops and we all sat together. It’s really impressive to see so many people so passionate about their jobs and so passionate about racing, wanting to do a better job and always wanting to improve and knowing where they can improve. It’s really cool to see, really encouraging.

“I just know they’re the soldiers, they’re the real true fighters within the team and they’re going to be giving absolutely everything to make sure that we progress.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

16 comments on “Hamilton: Mercedes not “talking BS” over testing form”

  1. As a true LH fan.
    I am moved to say. Haven’t we all heard this from Merc pre 1st race, before?
    Petronas Mercedes the pure & best sandbagging artistes in the F1 paddock!!!! :)

    1. I greatly respect Lewis, especially for his indepence and straight talk, but he would say that wouldn’t he, and as @wildbiker says we’ve heard before and before and before ad infinitum.

      1. heard IT before

    2. Actually– not sure Toto did a troop rally in previous years.

      I’m starting to think Mercedes felt the 2019 regs were something to be endured, and Ferrari (and others) saw them as an opportunity.

      Not to say Mercedes can’t come roaring back by Spain– they’ve got the talent, the money, and the manpower to produce a B-spec car by the end of the flyaway races, but I think they underestimated how much Ferrari could extract from the new rules.

  2. Yeah, I think that first line is stressed (about them, and most others, expecting Ferrari to be ahead). But it is not going to be by half a second, just a few tenth IMO. And Hamilton would know that.

    1. Well, everyone has quoted Hamilton as saying they’re 5 tenths down to Ferrari… what he said was actually, they may be potentially (ie, up to) 0.5 seconds behind Ferrari.

      Or, in your words, a few tenths. ;)

  3. Electroball76
    14th March 2019, 7:06

    He only said Ferrari were quickest in testing, which is completely true. What he doesn’t say here is that Merc were sandbagging and will be much quicker in Qualy.

  4. Yeah Yeah bla bla ok.

    WDC 2019: Lewis Hamilton
    WCC 2019: Ferrari (Mercedes if Bottas decides to turn up every now and again)

  5. Have we heard this before? I went back to some articles from post-2018 pre-season testing, and even though Ferrari had some fastest laps on some days, so did Mercedes, and always on the medium tires. LH was touting a car he thought was an improvement over 2017’s. The general consensus was that Mercedes was still the team to beat for 2018, with it to remain to be seen by how much.

    This year the general consensus seems to be Ferrari are on top. Yes of course let’s see what everyone has brought this weekend and see how they all stand after 3 or 4 races, but I would say no we did not hear this kind of talk from LH last year heading into the first race. Of course Mercedes might pull something special out of their bag of tricks, that is always possible, but this time around it doesn’t feel the same as last year, and I really don’t think LH would be this ‘obvious’ if they were actually trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes and felt they actually were tops still. Doesn’t mean they can’t end up strongest and win the Championships again, but I believe LH when he says they have work to do.

    1. That’s really interesting to hear, @robbie. I thought I remembered it was the same scenario last year. Thanks for going back and checking.

    2. Totally agree @robbie.

      I think Mercedes may have recovered some of that deficit, but i still believe they will be behind Ferrari on Sat and Sunday.

      Based on how much they have recovered, i expect Lewis to split the Ferrari’s. However, it could be much worse.

      Indeed, this will be their toughest year yet. I have already predicted a Vettel WDC; except of course Mercedes/ Lewis undertake a gargantuan effort to pull it out of the bag.

    3. F1oSaurus (@)
      15th March 2019, 0:56

      @robbie Well, in fact Ferrari did have the fastest car over the 2018 season. It’s only that Vettel kept crashing into other cars and handing himself grid penalties which ultimately cost him so many points that he threw away the WDC.

      AZE he flew off the road after the restart and finished only in P4 instead of P1
      FRA Crashed into Bottas first corner. Should have been at least P2 (and potentially a win), but managed only P5
      AUT landed himself a completely unnecessary grid penalty (impeding). Otherwise he would have won. P3 instead.
      GER Fastest car all weekend. Puts it in the wall. 0 points instead of P1 plus the SC he caused helps Hamilton win the race.
      ITA Fastest car all weekend. Too impatient first lap. Crashes into Hamilton. P4 instead of P1
      JPN Just kept on spinning in Q3 and crashes into Verstappen during the race. Should at least have finished P3, but managed only P6.
      USA unnecessary grid penalty (speeding under red flag) and again crashed into someone (Ricciardo) and again scored only a P4 instead of P1

      In only those seven races he loses 89 points, plus he hands Hamilton 24 points extra. Which is a total swing of 113 points. More than enough to have taken the WDC.

      Then there are races like SIN where Ferrari had the fastest car all weekend (half a second gap still in FP3). He messes up Q3 and only scores a P3 instead of P1. Plus a race like HUN where Ferrari were fastest by a country mile and then some specks of rain cost them in Q3 .

      Motorsport-total did an analysis of all the mistakes made and concluded that without all the errors, Vettel would have won the WDC with a 54 points lead instead of losing it with an 88 points deficit (ie a 142 points swing).

  6. Lewis and Mercedes are always so eager to appear to be the underdog that these statements just aren’t credible anymore. Which doesn’t mean they can’t be true.

  7. They’ve literally said this every year since 2014 and won the title on each one with a car that was arguably the fastest of all – sometimes with a huge margin, sometimes with a slender one – but never slow. I think the ‘Ferrari are on top’ narrative is wishful thinking really. Will be genuinely surprised if Merc are not on pole.

    1. We will know in 3 days.

    2. F1oSaurus (@)
      15th March 2019, 0:58

      @rocketpanda 2017 Ferrari was on pace with Mercedes and in 2018 Ferrari was clearly faster overall. The difference was that Hamilton didn’t make mistakes and Vettel made a huge amount of mistakes.

Comments are closed.