Lewis Hamilton isn’t taking Mercedes’ strong start to the Spanish Grand Prix weekend for granted after their tyre troubles in the last two races.
Severe blistering at Silverstone last weekend allowed Max Verstappen in to beat Hamilton and team mate Valtteri Bottas to victory. The week before, on harder tyres, both Mercedes suffered failures late in the race, though Hamilton hung on to win ahead of the Red Bull driver.
While Mercedes have consistently had the strongest pace over a single flying lap this year, Hamilton said “we expect these guys to be probably a little bit better” in the race.
“It’s definitely not going to be easy for us,” said Hamilton in response to a question from RaceFans. While he doesn’t expect a repeat of the blistering seen at the last race, Red Bull appeared to suffer less tyre degradation during Friday’s practice sessions.
“I don’t think we have the same problems we had last week,” said Hamilton. “But obviously we’ll find out when we get in the race.
“We’ve got those hot conditions, we have a harder compounds so fingers crossed that helps. I wouldn’t put it past us having problems tomorrow, but we’ll wait and see.”
Verstappen, who will start from third place, said he is encouraged by his car’s performance over a race stint.
“I felt very happy in the long run yesterday with the balance of the car and the wear of the tyres as well,” he said. “But tomorrow is a new day and we’ll have to try and show it again. Of course I hope that I can be close to them and put the pressure on.”
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2020 F1 season
- Pictures: Wrecked chassis from Grosjean’s Bahrain fireball crash to go on display
- Bottas vs Rosberg: Hamilton’s Mercedes team mates compared after 78 races each
- F1 revenues fell by $877 million in Covid-struck 2020 season
- Hamilton and Mercedes finally announce new deal for 2021 season
- F1 audience figures “strong” in 2020 despite dip in television viewers