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Hamilton: Ferrari 'very, very close' to Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes still has an edge on Ferrari on the power unit front but admits the recent gains has brought his rivals much closer
Lewis Hamilton says Ferrari is 'very, very close' to matching Mercedes in performance and echoes his team principal Toto Wolff's comments that 2016 will be a much tighter contest.

The reigning F1 world champion says he has always been wary of the threat Ferrari poses throughout his career in the sport and fully expects them to continue to match the level of development it has been making already in 2015.

When asked about Niki Lauda's beliefs that the Italian manufacturer has matched Mercedes in terms of engine power and performance, Hamilton feels his team still has the edge and is keen for Mercedes to continue its developments to maintain its dominance.

“I think they took their last step in Austin and they are very, very close,” Hamilton said. “I still feel that Mercedes makes the best engine, so I still think there are areas where we are stronger, but they have come a very long way from the power they had with Fernando last year.

“They have made a huge, huge step and I anticipate next year will be even better, so we have got to continue and it's harder when you are at the top to keep that gap, it's much easier to chase. I don't know if they will make any more improvements this year, but definitely next year is going to be very close.”

Having spent time at the Mercedes F1 base in Brackley before and after the Brazilian Grand Prix, Hamilton has been filled with confidence the team is making progress on its 2016 car but says nobody can be sure the difference in performance between his car and Ferrari's until the cars race next year.

“I've experienced racing Ferrari as the main competitive team in the past, so I have no doubt at some stage they will be the main competitors,” he explained. “They have made some amazing progress this year, so you have to assume they will make more progress for next year. Whether or not they will match us or be ahead, I have no idea.

“I still have 100% confidence in the decisions the team are taking and the progress they are making. Who knows how much progress they are making in their preparations for next year, but what I do know is I have the best group of guys pushing flat-out for me, so hopefully we'll still be there.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
15.11.2015 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W06 and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T at drivers parade
25.10.2015- Podium,  winner and 2015 F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W06  with 3rd Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T
15.11.2015 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W06 leads Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T
28.10.2016 - Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of FOM
28.10.2016 - Jerome Stoll (FRA) Renault Sport F1 President
28.10.2016 - Carlos Slim Domit
28.10.2016 - Pirelli Tyres
28.10.2016 - Helmut Marko (AUT), Red Bull Racing, Red Bull Advisor and Danny Sullivan
28.10.2016 - Jerome Stoll (FRA) Renault Sport F1 President and Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
28.10.2016 - Free Practice 2, Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Manor Racing MRT05
28.10.2016 - Free Practice 2, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
28.10.2016 - Free Practice 2, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM09
28.10.2016 - Free Practice 2, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11
28.10.2016 - Free Practice 2, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM09
28.10.2016 - Free Practice 2, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
28.10.2016 - Free Practice 2, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
28.10.2016 - Free Practice 2, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34
28.10.2016 - Free Practice 2, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW38

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George Zaidan

November 20, 2015 10:18 AM

Taz: I see he's been having a pop at Seb, Webber and Kimi, at least he's moved on from taking pot shots at Schumacher. Horrible little man.
when he falls it ain't gonna be pretty... and it will happen and a lot sooner than he thinks. Hamilton's former McLaren teammate Button warned: "He's pretty quickly becoming arrogant."

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