Lewis Hamilton accepts Mercedes has a tough challenge ahead to claw back against the performance advantage Ferrari appears to have carved out but says he’s blow away by the ‘crazy’ fixes the team can produce on a tight schedule.

While the defending Formula 1 world champion still sees Mercedes as favourites he concedes the Italian manufacturer has found an edge in qualifying which his team needs to work against in order to fight in the development race this season.

Hamilton has been impressed by the steps Mercedes has taken to combat the threat of Ferrari and feels with its rapid development programme it will help maintain its push in the F1 world title fight.

“Ferrari have taken a step ahead, they have really taken a step up, particularly in their qualifying performance,” Hamilton said. “We are under no illusion that we have to work hard to battle against.

“That’s the coolest thing about this team. They just keep their head down. They don’t make any complaints. They’re just like we have to do better.

“You’ll see if we have an issue on Saturday or Sunday, already it’s on the design board, and we’ll have fixes for this week. For me, it’s crazy, that they can already come up with a fix, so intelligent the people we have back at the factory. That fascinates me.”

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Hamilton also feels Mercedes can keep hold of its domination in F1 by maximising its strengths against Ferrari where he sees the German manufacturer more capable of securing results despite a possible pace deficit.

“I don’t look at Ferrari as my favourite, my team is still my favourite,” he said. “They currently have slightly the upper hand a bit at the moment competitive-wise.

“But if you look at our results, and the strengths we have shown signs of greatness, within our performance, for example in the race, I think we have the tools to do the job, but we’ve got to keep working. It is taking every single bit of effort to try and remain at the top or try and get to the top.”

Hamilton claimed back-to-back wins before the summer break to wrestle the F1 world championship lead from Sebastian Vettel and now holds a 24-point advantage, the largest lead at this stage of the season he has achieved for five years.



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