Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Singapore, 2019

Ferrari “very hard to beat” now, says Hamilton

2019 Singapore Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says Ferrari’s victory in Singapore shows they will be difficult to beat over the remaining races this year.

Following the summer break Ferrari’s strong showing at Spa and Monza was widely expected because of their strong straight-line speed. However their pole position and one-two finish in Singapore caught many by surprise.

Hamilton believes their breakthrough result wasn’t just due to them putting a major new upgrade on the car.

“Maybe they already had a good car all year [and] it just wasn’t working in right the window,” he said. “They couldn’t have brought – maybe they did – but it’s unlikely they brought a massive, massive upgrade that’s brought 20, 30 points [of downforce] or something which is, probably, performance-wise, what you would expect they’ve taken here.”

However it was achieved, Ferrari’s performance in Singapore shows they will be contenders for victory in the remaining races and Mercedes must operate at their very best to beat them, Hamilton believes.

“Clearly their car works really well everywhere now so it’s going to be very hard to beat them. Particularly [because] they’re so quick on the straights. We can’t compete with them on the straights at the moment.

“We have won before with not the best car. But it’s just really how we deliver over the weekend. At the moment they’re delivering better on both ends.

“If we are better in the operations area then I think that we can just pip them. Like [in Singapore] I did enough in the race for the first stint to gave come out in the lead but just the whole process didn’t work as well as should do. So we’ve just got to re-huddle and get back together and work hard moving forwards.”

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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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39 comments on “Ferrari “very hard to beat” now, says Hamilton”

  1. Eight more races like this and Vettel and Ferrari are leading the World Championships ;)

    1. @coldfly Except there are only six races left till the end of the season.

      1. That’s the joke @coldfly was making :)

    2. actually, maybe there IS a slim chance of things getting a little interesting still. If i am not very much mistaking the latest merc engines have already racked up a few failures. who is to say the works outfit won’t run into some reliabilty woes as well? just imagine if this season was to actually turn another way….

      1. I wonder whether this isn’t also why Ferrari have made such a leap over the Mercs, Maybe since Spa and the failures, they have had to turn down the engine?

        1. The title is still open, if Red Bull take points from Mercedes at a few races.

          Mexico they likely will, possibly USA, any others?

          Of course if Ferrari had favoured Leclerc and not Vettel he would be in with a good chance of the title.

          1. Mexico they likely will, possibly USA, any others?

            @davidjwest Max is usually strong at Interlagos and Honda seem very keen on delivering their best possible engine spec for their home race in Suzuka. If that’s enoough for stealing points from Mercedes or not, I’m not quite sure.

          2. It will take more than Verstappen stealing podiums from Hamilton for Leclerc (or Vettel) to win. Hamilton has a 96 point lead over Leclerc with 6 races to go. Leclerc would have to score an average of 16 points more than Hamilton in each race in order to tie for the championship (such a strong showing would probably give Leclerc the edge in the tie-break, oh and the amount is higher for Vettel). There’s only a 13 point difference between 1st and 4th.

            As long as the Mercs perform as they have been this year and Hamilton doesn’t get a DNF, regardless of what the Ferraris do Hamilton should still win the championship even if he doesn’t score another podium. I think it’s going to take at least one DNF and at least one major grid place penalty for parts replacement for Ferrari to have a chance at winning.

          3. I just double-checked. In the case of a tie, Hamilton would win as Leclerc needs to win all remaining races to tie Hamilton in first place finishes, but at that point Hamilton wins the second place finish tie-break (3 to Leclerc’s 2). So, Leclerc needs to average 16 points more than Hamilton over the next 6 races + 1 point. Not impossible, but a pretty steep hill to climb. However, if he were to do it, it’s quite possible that a fastest lap bonus could settle the championship!

            (If Hamilton wins one more race, even if Leclerc finished 2nd Hamilton would win the championship as long as he finished the other five races in 7th place or better.)

  2. No one can predict the future… But Mercedes-Benz strategy let them down… Just like ferrari’s poor strategy costed them in the 1st half of the season….

    1. I agree, I think Mercedes should have managed their strategy better. I think they were very cheeky asking Bottas to slow down so Hamilton could get the 4th place. I have no doubt that if the roles were reversed Hamilton would have said “No way!”.

      1. Like when he was asked to reverse positions in Hungary 2017 and lose more points to Vettel despite being a tight championship battle against a strong Ferrari?

        I have no doubt people like you think that, too.

      2. So they should have pitted Ham as normal and bought him back out in third?

      3. Regardless of the politics of Mercedes, the alternative option was no option at all. They might have finished in the same two number positions in opposite order if Hamilton was able to pass Albon, but it meant that the fight for the podium was gone for them.

  3. “I did enough in the race for the first stint to gave come out in the lead but just the whole process didn’t work as well as should do.”
    Guess who said this to the most dominant team of the f1 history.

    1. To my knowledge, so far Ham, Wolff, Shove, Bono, Vowles, Meadows almost certainly, but not in such mild language, and obviously Paul Ripki would have told Wolff that was ‘expletive’. Although all but one of them would have said he instead of I. Not forgetting Seb saying Ham was the fastest out there. Its the culture Wolff has fostered, its why they are ‘the most dominant team of the f1 history’; as someone once claimed.

      1. Trick question?

        Ferrari as a matter of record are the most dominant F1 team (just count the wins, podiums, championships). It doesn’t sound like a VET quote, so by a process of elimination – the answer is presumably LEC.

  4. Good thing the championship is wrapped then

  5. Ham needs to up his game and start trying – he’s relied on a rocket ship for far too long to cruise to too many unchallenged ‘wins’.

    He could and should have overtaken Lec before the first pit instead of just sitting there expecting his team to gift him a strategy. And as for using Bottas like that – utterly shameful!

    1. You’re criticizing Hamilton for not overtaking and expecting the team to gift him the strategy, but that’s exactly how Vettel won the race. Do you realize that?

      1. Absolutely, a so called top driver and had their chance but choose to wait and lost an easy win.

  6. I think two things happened at Singapore.

    1. Mercedes destroyed their own chances with some very poor strategy.
    2. The Ferraris were immensely fast over a single lap on a track that shouldn’t suit them, giving them track position.

    Is it possible that point 2 can be explained by the much lower minimum pressures stipulated by Pirelli for this race?

    1. And also hyper soft level compound plus the ambient temperature. It played in to Ferrari’s hands. But Sochi will be cooler so I am guessing despite the layouts being a bit similar it won’t play to Ferrari’s strengths because of the tire compound and cooler temps? Fascinating. I doubt their aero upgrade brought that much front grip to the table all of a sudden. Also Mercedes has a weakness in hot temps where its bodywork needs to be opened up and compromises them. That Ferrari PU is a work of art. I wonder if it’s way more efficient at harvesting thermal energy which would explain why they don’t have overheating issues unlike Mercedes and that results in a much more powerful PU because it can probably harvest and deploy many more times during the lap and thus result in a faster car. It’s not simply the low drag. Well done Ferrari! Let’s hope we see more images of Toto banging the desk with his fist!

    2. A few commentators were saying theirs a bit more rake been introduced on the Ferrari which means the fronts more planted; and it was clear the Ferraris were running the kerbs better in Singapore.

  7. And yet Merc somehow finish 1-2 in the remaining races of 2019…

    1. Lottery numbers?

      I can’t see them winning Mexico

      1. Do people buy their crystal ball on the dark web or something? I’ve never been able to find a working one. ;)

        Regardless of whether it’s hot or cool in Mexico, I suspect Mercedes are going to need to compromise drag for cooling again due to the air density. What will be really interesting is if Red Bull can maintain their advantage there given Ferrari’s jump in PU output, because the tow is not going to work as well there as it did at Monza and if Ferrari’s down force upgrade isn’t a unicorn solution for Singapore, they might have a competitive chassis as well. We should see a pretty good picture of how much Honda have advanced their own PU on the front straight.

  8. Specially when your strategy team insists on overcutting a car that is notoriously hard to be overtaken…

  9. I think Ferrari myabe still not that strong. Spa and Monza is bearable with good top speed and weaker downforce, while Singapore is quite slow, so downforce not matters too much, none of these are average F1 tracks. So at average tracks they still may suffer a bit. But the fact that Merc was not able to get close with DRS at Monza or Spa was surprising.

  10. Per usual, Merc/HAM overselling Ferrari relative to Mercedes performance. Ferrari were always expected to be ahead in Monza/Spa. Here, as mentioned in one of the other articles, Ferrari rightfully decided that position was more important than pace. Had this been a non-street circuit with semi-reasonable passing opportunities, this strategy would almost certainly never work and wouldn’t have been tried.

    Before we go lauding Ferrari, let’s see a few non-street, non-power circuits. Russia has been Merc stomping grounds as has Japan, and Mexico has gone to RBR lately. If Ferrari can win or be very close over the next three races, then we can revisit this comment. But nothing so far has shown that Ferrari is tough everywhere and is hard to beat.

    1. Agree. Some still mention their poor strategy in the 1st part of the season. Maybe, sometimes, things could have been slightly better, but their car obviously did not perform all race long.

    2. I agree it’s too soon to tell about the package improvement. And it was pretty clear Ferrari suffered worse tire degradation than Mercedes in Singapore (and pretty much the whole year), so it didn’t solve all those problems. Some of it could have been tuning for the one lap pace, but not all of it. The safety cars coming after Mercedes could take advantage of them saved their bacon, although Hamilton wasn’t able to get by Verstappen to reach them, so perhaps it would not have been in the cards.

    3. Russia is likely a strong circuit for Ferrari, it has 2 mega straights and lots of slower 90 degree corners, just like Singapore, Baku, Bahrain and Canada where Ferrari where strong. I don’t know why people where suggesting they where going to be slow around Singapore ‘because its like Hungary’ – it’s nothing like Hungary, Hungary is all long radius medium to high speed corners with almost no major traction events and long straights to speak of, that’s not where Ferrari’s strengths lie. Before Ferrari’s Singapore aero update, i would have definitely said Suzuka is a track they would struggle, given it’s long radius corners, but now i’m not sure there’s any weak circuits for them.

  11. I’m guessing Sochi will now suit Ferrari, two long straights and they seem competitive in the slower stuff too. Rain forecast for Saturday……………

  12. lewis and the mercs have it in the bag this tear matbe they are starting to focus more on next years car…

  13. Mercedes once again was faster on race day and with better tyre management, so they’re still the team to beat.
    But i wonder what’s happening with their one lap pace. They’re faster than everybody else, yes, but without track position it’s going to be hard to win many more races this year.

  14. Right Lewis…sure, why not.

    I’ve also decided to bet my house on Man Utd winning the league this year.

  15. Hamilton :
    “Mercedes strategy cost me an easy win”

    Hamilton :
    “Ferrari are very hard to beat, now”

    Well, Lewis, make a choice :p

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