Lewis Hamilton has stated that it is not his team that are favourites for the 2017 title so far, but in fact the Ferrari team…
Despite Mercedes having an impressive pre-season so far, Ferrari have clocked plenty of mileage on gone quickest in a few sessions. Hamilton thinks the Scuderia are better placed than his own team to fight for the title. Testing times may not mean much, but Ferrari have certainly looked good this winter. When asked about Mercedes being the favourites for the title, Hamilton said,
“No, I think Ferrari must be the favourites. I think we can’t take our eyes off them because they have been doing such a great job at the moment. Red Bull look like they are quite good as well. We’ll see over the next days and, most importantly, over the next weeks, but it’s going to be close in the first race, that’s for sure.”
– Lewis Hamilton
Whilst the final two words of that quote suggests the brit has been spending too much time with the 2016 World Champions, Hamilton emphasises that Red Bull can’t be discounted either. Red Bull turned up the pace on the opening day of test two and so did Williams, Felipe Massa and Daniel Ricciardo going to the top of the time sheets. Hamilton was wary of the Red Bull threat as well, and also said he hoped Williams could join in the title fight after Massa’s impressive time. Probably irrelevant, but it was still a shock to many in the paddock to see the Williams at the top with the previous test being dominated by Mercedes and Ferrari.
“Just on times it looks like Ferrari might be quickest, I think… and maybe we’re very close with the Red Bull behind. It would be amazing [if Williams joined the title fight]. Williams have had a serious dip for so many years, and they have been kind of strong over the last few years, and I really hope that they are up there. That’d be amazing.”
Hamilton only managed 49 laps in the morning, a damaged floor bringing an early end to his day. The team elected to repair the car for Valtteri Bottas in the afternoon. If Hamilton is right about Ferrari, then perhaps this season will see one of the most intense title fights in the sport’s recent history. If Red Bull and Williams are in there as well it could make for some exciting fights up at the front. The British driver has clearly had enough of just battling with his teammate for wins, and it’s refreshing to hear that he’s hoping there are a few teams up there giving him and Bottas a proper fight.