Lewis Hamilton claimed “We’ve got a race on our hands”, referring to Mercedes chance of winning the F1 race this year. Hamilton admitted he was impressed by Ferrari’s race pace in the season opening in the Australian Grand Prix. Valtteri Bottas said that Mercedes must work “really hard” to lead the race.
Ferrari beat Mercedes in the Australian GP as the result of the race pace and pit strategy. It allowed the German team to lead the race early against Hamilton.
The Mercedes team was this year’s favorite to win the prestigious Formula One racing event. In the past three competition, Mercedes owned the title. For this year, it seems that Ferrari is a strong contender for the title.
“We’ve got a race on our hands”
Unfazed, Hamilton said, “We’ve got a race on our hands.” He claims that he only say it as he sees it. In an interview with Sky Sports F1, Hamilton said: “I don’t lie and I’m not very good at bluffing.”
The Mercedes driver then added, “I didn’t know how quick they would be in the race but their pace from testing was true and their first stint on the ultrasofts was fantastic. My real strength wasn’t until right at the end by which time it was far too late.”
To ward off an aggressive ‘undercut’ approach from Ferrari, Mercedes pitted Hamilton. However, the Briton came out just behind Max Verstappen. Hamilton having a hard time overtaking Red Bull, it permits Vettel to stay out and cover enough space to pit and rejoin the race.
Hamilton said, “I only stopped a lap earlier than my target but I couldn’t go any further.”
When Hamilton rejoined the group to take on Vettel when Verstappen pitted, he struggled with his tires and Bottas was closing on him. Bottas finished the race just two about two seconds to get the last place of the podium his Mercedes race. In terms of performance, Bottas’s race pace expectation is “a little bit better.”
Bottas said, “It’s a decent start and a good haul of points for the team.” He claimed that “The main question mark is the first stint as I didn’t have the pace I should have had. The car was sliding around a lot with the ultrasofts but at the end, it was feeling consistent and I could really push the car.”
“I was trying to get close but once you get within a couple of seconds you lose grip, more than in previous years,” Bottas added.
Bottas believed that Mercedes remains unfazed in Ferrari’s remarkable race pace. The Finnish driver shows confidence on his team that they can get the advantage the need in China. He said, “It’s going to be a big challenge and we have to work really hard if we want to beat Ferrari.They were quicker today so we need to improve plenty of things.
“I’m glad there are 19 races to go and we are definitely not standing still. That’s why I’m happy. The third is not the best result but there is much more to come.” Bottas said as he closes his statement.