Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

Hamilton: Ferrari not reaching their full potential

2019 Chinese Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton suspects Ferrari haven’t reached their full potential in the opening races of 2019, all of which Mercedes have won.

After Mercedes scored their third consecutive one-two finish in the Chinese Grand Prix Sebastian Vettel, who finished third, said Ferrari need to “unlock” the full performance of its car.

Hamilton believes Mercedes have been close to their full potential in the opening races, which is why they have been able to beat Ferrari.

“I think as a team everyone arrives and does their best job,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “You’ve got to try and operate at 100 percent and we’re close to that.”

“With what we have, we are operating at its full potential. But there will be more performance improvements to come in the future, we will make steps forward.”

Hamilton said his Bahrain Grand Prix win was an example of Mercedes winning a race Ferrari had the potential to win.

“I think the last race, you can’t say that was necessarily full merit because we weren’t quick enough to win the race really but things happened along the way. You have to put yourself in a position to get the win so we did that. I think particularly the first one and this one were full merit.

“They’ve got a good car, the Ferraris, it just doesn’t look like they’re extracting their full potential on a weekend and their execution is not always as faultless as they have shown in the past.

“We will have ups and downs. But that’s where we are really diligent in making sure our processes are as accurate as we can be.”

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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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20 comments on “Hamilton: Ferrari not reaching their full potential”

  1. Pedro Andrade
    16th April 2019, 7:56

    Sure Lewis, sure.

    In Baku they will still be clear favorites, no doubt.

    1. Clearly, with that great straightline pace advantage they showed, and the Baku straight, and in like Bahrain, which has a bit ‘point and squirt’ character, the Baku squiggly bit, should suit Ferrari too ;-)

      Too early to therefore predict a Mercedes 1-2, I think 🤔

  2. Like it or not but Mercedes has been an example to extract the best of what they have. They are also quite good in the development race.

    Probably that it continues in making them look boring as they seldom put a foot wrong… Which is not quite the case of Ferrari and can be the difference at the end of the season between champion or not.

    1. @jeanrien – +1 to this, they are one well-oiled machine, and in the midst of a virtuous cycle they’ve created.

  3. Toto and Lewis in Abu Dhabi: Ferrari is still the fastest car. They will unlock their true speed in 2020.

    1. Well, let’s hope that is enough time for them!

      1. One can hope..

    2. D’ya not think Ferrari has under-delivered at both Bahrain and China?

      It’s not Mercedes’s fault that Ferrari doesn’t seem to be able to match them in pace or strategy.

      1. Or reliability.

  4. I agree with everything Lewis has said about Mercedes – operating at 100%, “put yourself in a position to get the [Bahrain] win”, etc. As much as we bemoan this era of Mercedes dominance – they have earned it with the right hardware, the right people, and the right approach. And every time a challenger has emerged, they have stepped up their game.

    His comments all come across genuine, this isn’t one of those “oversell Ferrari so we look better” type of statements.

    I can’t speak for his comment about Ferrari not extracting the maximum potential, but he again hits the nail on the head with “their execution is not always as faultless as they have shown in the past”. That’s gotta sting. :)

    1. That’s gotta sting. :)

      @phylyp He’s got pretty good at this over the years :)

  5. Genuine question but has anyone actually considered that the Ferrari ISN’T as good as everyone was hyping it up to be? What if Bahrain was more a case of Mercedes underperforming and getting lucky? If Mercedes had outqualified Ferrari in Bahrain, would Ferrari have had the pace to take it from them? Looking at Australia/China, I’m not sure they did.

    The two cars aren’t too far away from each other in overall performance with Ferrari being stronger on the straights & Mercedes being stronger in the corners, but isn’t it obvious that at least at this stage the Mercedes is comfortably the stronger car?

    1. It never mattered if and when Ferrari actually had a quicker car. Pure mind games to protect Lewis when he can’t get the car to work, or he has those regular season off periods.
      Mercedes as a team are light years ahead. This is ‘normal’ Ferrari outside of the Brawn era. I remember Ferrari having the most powerful engines that led to nothing before.

      1. The only multiple world champion who has suffered regular off periods in the last 2 years has been Seb Vettel.

        1. He is the type of person who doesn’t believe in objective truths. Don’t respond to people who are unreasonable.

          1. Newsflash for you 2: you don’t only lose points through mistake, but you also lose them when you’re off your average team mate’s pace all weekend.

  6. Ever since the ‘Ferrari are faster’ lies started, I’ve been hoping key characters such as a Brawn, a Todt or a Schumacher would emerge from the team. Not a chance. This is the Ferrari we love and know outside of that dominant era, which will never return.

  7. This is just my opinion…I can’t help thinking that for the past couple of years Mercedes have been sensitive to everyone saying how boring F1 is because they are clearly the favorites, so they are hyping Ferrari to try to create excitement where there isn’t any. I don’t read it as “we are so awesome because Ferrari is great and we’re still greater.” I read it as “F1 is still exciting because Ferrari is at least as fast as us so tune in because we aren’t guaranteed to win. And the more people watch it, the more advertising we get for our participation.”

    1. As Ferrari has proven over the last decade. You don’t have to win in F1 to be loved and favoured. Ferrari is that immaculate result of wonderful marketing. They no longer have to prove anything. Their past achievements will forever redeem their blunders.

      I Agree with your point. However I would go even further. Mercedes doesn’t care in the slightest if they lose a championship. They will try their best not to lose their streak; but, they are winning regardless.

  8. The funny thing is that I honestly think Ferrari still believe this. They and a lot of the media fell for this in testing and still are. I guess with carnival barkers like Trump out there proving that if you repeat the same thing over and over it will become truth for awhile..

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