Lewis Hamilton believes that Scuderia Ferrari’s engine is now a match for that of Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport.
Since the start of the hybrid era in 2014, Mercedes has possessed the dominant engine in Formula 1. For 2018, reports suggest that their power unit has hit the one-thousand brake-horse-power mark.
As a result, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel claimed this week that Mercedes hold a pace advantage of around four-tenths-of-a-second on the rest of the field.
Hamilton however, isn’t so sure on his team’s advantage and believes that Ferrari’s power unit is now a match for his own.
“They said in qualifying we think that we are power-wise equal to them,” Hamilton told motorsport.com. “They made a really big improvement. And [the team said] that in the race we might have a slight edge on them.
“It’s hard to say from one race, they had a different run profile particularly in the race they were doing something different fuelling wise.
“You’ll get a much better idea over the coming races.”
During the opening race of the year in Australia, Hamilton enjoyed a comfortable pace advantage until a safety car scuppered his progress and gifted Vettel the victory. However, Vettel’s Ferrari was quicker in a straight line, although differing downforce levels mask top speed figures.
Nonetheless, Hamilton is pleased with Mercedes’ 2018 challenger as is looking to bounce back this weekend.
“I am still happy with it,” Hamilton said. “But I guess it’s that I started first and finished second. You never ever want to move backwards.
“That is difficult for us all but everyone in the team felt the same pain. After the race we all got together and sat and had a drink.
“I come here really strong and positive and [have] a good direction about how to move forward. That is why this is such a great team.”