Fourth championship looking even harder, says Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton admits that earning a fourth World Championship in 2017 won’t be easy in the face of Ferrari’s good form – and he insists that the Italian team is putting all its efforts behind Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton lost ground in Monaco as Vettel won and he could not better seventh, having started from 13th after problems in qualifying.
“It’s definitely not proving very easy to get, no,” said Hamilton of the title. “It’s clear to me that Ferrari have chosen their number one driver, so they’re going to be pushing everything to make sure Sebastian will get the maximum on all of his weekends.
“With the strategy, it’s very hard for the leading car to get jumped by the second car unless the team decide to favor the other car, so that’s very clear. We’ve definitely got to improve our understanding of the car, what we have, and see if we can do a better job.
“I’ll go to the factory this week. We are under no illusion that we are not perfect and we’ve still got areas to improve on. I still believe we can win this thing. Twenty-five points is a long way away, it was hard to get just six points, but bit by bit, we’ll try and chip away.”
Hamilton was relieved to leave Monaco with a seventh, and some useful points.
“One more race like this and we will be much further behind. I like to look at the glass half full. Today I’m generally really happy with the day. I don’t know what it is, I think it’s because we came here starting 13th, it could have been a lot worse. I was sad yesterday, I was devastated, but to come away with some points feels better. I’ve got to be grateful for that.
“We’ve had a Grand Prix today, that’s awesome. The race wasn’t good in the sense of not being able to do real racing because it was just a train, but I did what I came to do. I didn’t make any silly mistakes and damage the car, got those points, and I’d like to think that at the end of the season those points are going to be valuable. Maybe they won’t, but I’d like to think so.”
Nevertheless, he concedes that the Mercedes team has a lot of work to do.
“It's not like we came here unprepared, it's just things just didn't get off right to us, and the car was in a really different place than we've really ever had it before, and it was definitely unexpected.
“Not a happy car, that's for sure. The most unusual way the car has felt in all the years I've been with the team. Definitely a difficult one, but I think that doesn't deter the fact that we have a great car, it's just perhaps we didn't hit the nail on the top of the head this weekend. So we'll regroup, get the car back to where we know it's comfortable for the next races, try to understand the ultrasoft tire a bit better and come back stronger.”
Regarding the next race, he said: “Montreal has been a great hunting ground for me in the past and I plan for it to continue, so we are going to work very very hard over the next two weeks to make sure the car is in the right place to make sure we are ahead of those Ferraris.”