Lewis Hamilton is attempting to play mind games with Sebastian Vettel, that's the view of former F1 race winner Johnny Herbert.
Hamilton was recently quoted as a saying the Red Bull Racing man is a poor man's Nigel Mansell [see separate story - click here
], and while Herbert found that mildly amusing, he doesn't believe it will have much effect. Indeed he reckons the reigning world champion still has a lot in reserve, even though he absolutely dominated the F1 2011 opener in Australia two weeks ago.
“That's not so bad,” Herbert told 422race.com
when asked about Hamilton's Mansell jibe ahead of this weekend's second round in Malaysia. “I think there are some games, I also read Lewis saying that Red Bull has to get the KERS system on the car if they want to be competitive. It is just little games that are being played to try and disrupt Sebastian and Red Bull. It's the normal thing in F1 to have these words sometimes.
“I like Lewis, his style, sometimes he makes probably a few mistakes too many, but he's learned from that. It's just part of the game, but Sebastian is not that type, he just does the job he needs to do.
“We saw that last year with his comeback in the latter part of the season against Mark [Webber], he was very, very quick. He's still very young. For me, personally, the way he has developed from winning the championship last year is that this year he's more complete. He's very confident, he has so much belief in himself but also in the team, which gives him the right feeling.
“I'm sure Lewis has the same feeling at McLaren. The Red Bull is the fastest car at the moment, for sure, but I think Sebastian has more in his pocket, there is still more speed from him.”
As for Ferrari, Herbert reckons they are not far off McLaren, even if the Scuderia did have a bit of a nightmare start to the season in Melbourne.
“I was probably a bit surprised they [Ferrari] weren't a little bit more competitive. It was probably a surprise for them as well, but they didn't quite have the pace. In the race, it was a little bit better for [Fernando] Alonso, but maybe they need more time to adjust to the tyre. Fernando, especially, got a bad start and that made his race very, very difficult.
“At the moment I don't think they are far from McLaren, and Lewis and Fernando are very similar. But the gap between them and Red Bull is [currently] very big,” Herbert summed-up.