Lewis Hamilton has identified balance in low-to-medium speed corners as the key area for Mercedes to improve during the early stages of the 2019 Formula 1 season. 

The reigning world champions singled out Ferrari as the early favourites in 2019 following a strong showing in pre-season, while Mercedes encountered some balance issues with its W10 challenger. 

A heavily revised aerodynamic upgrade went some way in combating the problems but heading into the Australia season-opener Hamilton insisted Mercedes’ was not “talking BS” regarding its estimated deficit to its chief rival. 

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“It’s basically the balance,” the five-time world champion replied when asked which areas his Mercedes needed improvement. 

“I don’t know if people when they’re watching ever consider it but you’re trying to balance it on a knife-edge through those slow-speed, medium-speed and high-speed corners. There’s a whole mixture here. 

"You can’t have your cake and eat it, so you have to try and find a compromise throughout the track, throughout your entries, throughout your mid and exit. So you’re just trying to figure out where you can lean on the car.

“The high speed corners are really fine for us, it’s more as you come down the speed curve, the low speed corners and the medium speed corners are areas we can improve on. 

“But again it’s not so bad. It’s not so fun when you go on a long run because you just do multiple laps with your thought of what you’d do in the race, but the car’s always different once you get to the race, for whatever reason. 

“So we’ve got the balance to improve and the race pace, because looking after the tyres, making the go the distance and having the right balance to make them go there easily is key.” 

The Briton, who has dominated proceedings so far in Melbourne by completing a practice lockout, said the German manufacturer is planning to evaluate further balance work during the first in-season test of 2019, which follows the upcoming Bahrain Grand Prix. 

“I’m really happy with where we are and there’s not a huge amount more we can do with the way the car is currently designed,” Hamilton explained. 

“So we’ve got mods coming, we’ve got tests coming for example, so we’ll get into that. But we can still change things with set-up and that’s what we're just going to continue to work on.” 

Hamilton acknowledged there is even less margin for error this season given how close the pecking order appears to be, adding he is “super excited” for the battle to come. 

“If you look how close it actually is, even the mid pack is a lot closers, so I would say even more than ever before there’s even less margin for error,” he said. 

“That’s how it’s supposed to be. That’s where those of us that are driving get paid the big bucks to pull out those milliseconds to try and make the difference. So I’m super-stoked and excited for what’s to come.”

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