Lewis Hamilton has warned that speed alone will not be enough to win F1’s 2018 titles – which may be good news for Mercedes if Ferrari maintain their pace advantage when the season resumes.
Hamilton’s unexpected back-to-back victories in Germany and Hungary mean it is the Mercedes driver and not previous leader Sebastian Vettel who sits atop the world championship as the sport breaks for summer, despite most observers now accepting that Ferrari hold a car advantage.
Mercedes: Power still with Ferrari
Vettel: Ferrari have more to unleash
Mercedes remain adamant that Ferrari have a faster car and they have to respond when the season restarts in Belgium in late August, but Hamilton has also stressed the importance of continuing to make the most of opportunities and executing race weekends without mistakes.
“This year we all know that Ferrari really do have the upper hand pace-wise,” said Hamilton. “But I think all around, performance-wise, in terms of strategy…to win a championship is not just about speed, it’s about how you manage things, the strategy calls you make, mistakes, all these different things all weigh up.
7:07 Lewis Hamilton speaks to Sky F1 on his Hungarian GP win and what it all means for the battle with Ferrari
“I think, as a whole, we have hopefully done a slightly better job up until now.
“So, we’ve got work to do, we’ve got things to improve, we’ve got performance to bring moving forwards.
“We’ve got to try and catch them – but we’ve got to continue to keep rising with all the other elements, which allows us to beat the Ferraris when they don’t bring their A game.”
Despite the impressive and sustained pace of Ferrari’s 2018 car, Hamilton’s 24-point title lead is the largest a driver has enjoyed going into a summer break since 2013, the final year of F1’s previous engine era.
Hamilton has won five of this year’s 12 races, one more than Vettel, but when asked if it was beginning to feel like he had part of his hand on the drivers’ championship trophy again he replied: “Absolutely not”.
“I think it’s far too early and you’ve seen the ups and downs we’ve had from this year, you’ve been ahead by some points and behind some points,” added Hamilton.
How significant is F1 title lead at summer break? Summer break leader Points lead Rounds completed Eventual champion 2018: Lewis Hamilton 24 12/21 ? 2017: Sebastian Vettel 14 11/20 Lewis Hamilton 2016: Lewis Hamilton 19 12/21 Nico Rosberg 2015: Lewis Hamilton 21 10/19 Lewis Hamilton 2014: Nico Rosberg 11 11/19 Lewis Hamilton 2013: Sebastian Vettel 38 10/19 Sebastian Vettel 2012: Fernando Alonso 40 11/20 Sebastian Vettel
“But we have learned a lot. I don’t believe there’s ever a moment that you’ve got your hands on the title or the trophy. We’ve got a long, long way still to go and there’s still nine races.
“So a lot can happen moving forwards, but what’s really important is that we continue to keep up the pressure and keep working as we have done until now. There’s nothing we really need to alter. I think our work ethic has been very strong and the team morale is better than ever and the spirit is better than ever.”
Hamilton v Vettel: The story so far Lewis Hamilton Sebastian Vettel Wins 5 4 Podiums 9 7 Laps led 232 297 DNFs 1 1 Pole positions 5 5 Front rows 7 7 Outqualified team-mate 7 10 Points 213 189 Championship position 1st 2nd
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