Hamilton: Red Bull "not on the same level" as Mercedes, Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton says Red Bull is not operating at the same level as Ferrari and Mercedes, adding that the team has not lived up to its pre-season testing form.

Hamilton: Red Bull "not on the same level" as Mercedes, Ferrari
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, greets Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14
Ferrari mechanoics with Ferrari SF71H in pit lane
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, 2nd position, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1st position, and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, 3rd position, on the podium with the Ferrari Constructors trophy delegate
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, signs autograph for fans
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H

Red Bull came into the 2018 season with high hopes after finishing last year strongly, but it is yet to offer a serious threat to the top two teams in the opening races of the season, with reliability woes ruining what was expected to be a strong race for the RB14 last week in Bahrain.

“The team has the potential to win races,” Hamilton said of Red Bull. “In testing they looked a lot faster than they have done in the last two races.

“But so far they are not operating on the same level as Ferrari or Mercedes. Ferrari have almost been flawless, and we are working on being flawless.”

Hamilton, speaking before he topped the first practice session of the weekend in China, said he expects Ferrari to have another very strong weekend.

“This weekend they are going to be hard to beat,” he added. “We’ve seen their straightline speed in the past races has been faster than ours.

“They’ve got the longest straight here, so I anticipate they are going to be very very fast.

“This should be a good track for us, but it’s going to be a lot closer than you think.”

However, he downplayed suggestions Ferrari has got the measure of Mercedes just because it has won the first two races with Sebastian Vettel.

“I don’t feel that Ferrari did a better job in Australia, that would be unfair to say, because we outperformed them all weekend, it was just one little thing that tipped it over and sometimes you get lucky,” he said of the virtual safety car timing that allowed Vettel to make a pitstop and emerge ahead of him.

“That was very much a fortunate scenario for them, but they capitalised on it.

“The next race they did the job, but they didn’t do the whole job, it was only on one car [that finished ahead].

“The full package is getting a one-two, and neither of us have done that.

“You can’t they they are perfect, and neither are we, but it is very close between us, and it’s going to be interesting to see how we perform from track to track.

“They’ve really picked up their engine programme, it’s really taken a big step into this season.”

Hamilton made it clear that Mercedes has to get everything right to beat Ferrari.

“We arrived with our A-game in Australia and didn’t finish on our A-game,” he said.

“Then in the last one we performed well, but we were on the back foot with the penalty I had taken. Ferrari just outperformed us throughout the whole weekend.

“The A-game applies to everything across the board, and there are so many things that keep the board afloat.

“It’s like a table with four legs – if two of those legs aren’t there, then the table falls over.”

shares
comments
Chinese GP: Hamilton comfortably fastest in FP1

Previous article

Chinese GP: Hamilton comfortably fastest in FP1

Next article

Ferrari explains error that injured mechanic in Bahrain

Ferrari explains error that injured mechanic in Bahrain
Load comments
Russian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Russian Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Russian GP was decided by late-arriving rain that allowed some to climb and caused others to plummet. But the events which played out beforehand are equally significant when considering the all-important driver ratings

The "blind faith" Mercedes call that won Hamilton his 100th F1 race Prime

The "blind faith" Mercedes call that won Hamilton his 100th F1 race

Until rain turned the Russian Grand Prix on its head in the closing stages, Lando Norris was set to convert his first Formula 1 pole position into a maiden win. But having recovered well from being shuffled back at the start, Hamilton and his Mercedes team called the changing conditions spot-on for a landmark 100th F1 victory

Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces Prime

Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2021
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Prime

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery Prime

Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi...

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1 Prime

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Prime

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. Damien Smith brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1.

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Prime

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021