Lewis Hamilton has praised the FIA for having taken the necessary steps to rein in the advantage held by Red Bull Racing over the rest of the field earlier on in the F1 2010 World Championship campaign – as he insisted he is 'strong enough' to cope with the inevitable mind games over the final few grands prix and revved up to do his talking 'on the track'.
Eyebrows were raised over the weekend of the Hungarian Grand Prix in late July about the gaping 1.2-second margin in qualifying between pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel and the fastest non-Red Bull, the Ferrari of double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso. Hamilton's McLaren-Mercedes was a full 1.7 seconds adrift of the young German, and in the race, the British star's team-mate, compatriot and title-winning successor Jenson Button actually found himself lapped
by the victorious Mark Webber.
Sterner flexible bodywork tests were subsequently introduced by the FIA on the resumption from the mid-summer break at Spa-Francorchamps, and Red Bull has not won a race since. Whilst stopping short of accusing the Adrian Newey-penned RB6 of having been in contravention of the regulations, Hamilton does question RBR team principal Christian Horner's repeated assertions that no enforced changes have had to be made.
“In Hungary, they were two seconds per lap faster than the rest of us,” the 25-year-old told German newspaper Bild
. “It is simply impossible to have a lead like that. We have always stuck to the rulebook. Our people wondered if their car was legal, and we asked the FIA. After that, Red Bull had to rebuild their car and take a step back. It was a good decision by the FIA.”
Hamilton went on to discuss the psychological warfare that is almost certain to be a key feature of the title run-in, with five contenders – himself, Vettel, Webber, Alonso and Button – all still remaining in the reckoning to lift the laurels with four races left to run.
“It's normal that, at the end of a season, the mind games begin,” the 14-time grand prix-winner mused. “I'm strong enough and ready for it. I'm not worried, but I think it's best if you just do your talking on the track.”