Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes driver braced for ‘toughest battle yet’

Hamilton won his fifth World Championship in 2018

Lewis Hamilton says he is braced for his “toughest battle but” after conceding Ferrari own had the absolute most real looking vehicle in pre-season testing.

The five-time world champion believes his Mercedes crew’s deficit to Ferrari is “presumably half a second”.

Nonetheless, Hamilton ended the final take a look at day ravishing 0.003 seconds slower than Sebastian Vettel’s tempo-setting time.

“Final year there had been many cases we as a crew had been at the back of on efficiency and had to invent,” Hamilton added.

“We weren’t at the back of anyplace shut to as much final year.”

Ferrari had been constantly lickety-split within the future of two weeks of testing in Spain and their vehicle has proved easy to drive and speedily in all cases.

The Mercedes, by disagreement, has been complicated to balance and liable to tyre issues.

Hamilton, who used to be helped on his skill to the title final year by a chain of mistakes by Ferrari and their lead driver Sebastian Vettel, acknowledged: “Final year they arrived with a vehicle working nicely nonetheless they own got carried out even better this year.

“It is OK. We bear no longer mind the difficulty, it ravishing formula now we must always work more challenging. I’m no longer scared or upset or one thing else. We’ve a hill to climb nonetheless all of us know easy suggestions to bear it.”

Vettel says his Ferrari “feels glorious” despite issues within the future of this week’s testing classes

Ferrari crew main Mattia Binotto acknowledged: “I am chuffed to grab Hamilton believes we are faster and intensely solid nonetheless I mediate Mercedes will doubtless be very solid in Australia and it’d be completely rotten to deem we are faster than them. I’m no longer staring at for them to be at the back of us. I deem they’re going to be very, very shut.”

Vettel ended pre-season with the fastest time, and Hamilton’s slow surge moved him forward of the German’s crew-mate, Charles Leclerc, who used to be ravishing 0.01secs slower than Vettel.

Nonetheless, Ferrari’s final take a look at has been panicked by recurring reliability issues.

Leclerc misplaced time to a cooling system allege on the major day, Vettel crashed on the second day attributable to a wheel-rim failure, which also fee Leclerc working.

And on Friday Vettel had to abandon a chase-simulation chase within the afternoon when his vehicle broke down on goal with an electrical allege that compelled them to abandon the the relaxation of the take a look at.

Purple Bull also hit anguish on the final day of the take a look at. After Pierre Gasly crashed the vehicle at excessive chase on Thursday, the crew had been half an hour slow getting the repaired vehicle out on goal on Friday, with Max Verstappen at the wheel.

The Dutchman then misplaced time with a gearbox allege within the afternoon and ended the day 11th fastest, even though Purple Bull didn’t chase the 2 fastest tyre compounds.

Fastest cases, day four, final pre-season testing, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

1 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari) one minute 16.221 seconds

2 Lewis Hamilton (GB) Mercedes 1:16.224

3 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 1:16.561

4 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 1:16.843

5 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Toro Rosso 1:16.898

6 Carlos Sainz (Spa) McLaren 1:16.913

7 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas 1:17.076s

8 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 1:17.114

9 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo 1:17.239

10 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas 1:17.565

11 Max Verstappen (Ned) Purple Bull 1:17.709

12 Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point 1:17.791

13 Robert Kubica (Pol) Williams 1:18.993

All cases space on fastest tyre as opposed to Verstappen, who used to be on the center tyre of five.

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