Lewis Hamilton expects Ferrari to bounce back after sluggish start


Lewis Hamilton has said he expects Ferrari to bounce back from a disappointing Australian GP and enjoy a resurgence in the upcoming races of the 2019 F1 season.

Pre-race predictions were turned on their head when Mercedes’ finished qualifying and the main race in one-two, Hamilton noted this result as an 'incredible achievement' after what he saw as a challenging winter training program and seeing Ferrari perform strongly in testing.

Hamilton noted how surprised he was at Ferrari’s poor start to the campaign: "Everyone is probably. No one was expecting to have a gap like that when we came into the weekend," according to Sky Sports.

"Honestly, what I was shown and led to believe from the analysis we were given was that they were ahead. It obviously wasn't the case during this weekend and I'm not quite sure why their performance was how it was.

"I wouldn't say we particularly over-delivered, we did our normal job in the sense of our operations, and the team did an exceptional job throughout the weekend.

"I don't know what their problem was. I'm sure they'll come back strong in the next races so we've got to stay on our toes."

Hamilton was clearly Mercedes’ number one driver last season, finishing the season with 11 race wins as he won his fifth world title, yet early signs suggest he might not have it quite so easy this year as was beaten teammate Valtteri Bottas stormed to victory at Albert Park on Sunday. 

F1 Grand Prix of Australia

The Finn overtook the defending champion at the first corner of the race and never let it slip from in an impressive performance.

Hamilton noted post-race that “something didn’t feel right” after experiencing issues when completing his fourth lap and Mercedes have since confirmed that his car did indeed sustain damage which complicated the car’s rear downforce, causing significant balance issues which hampered the world champion.

"I'm generally happy with how I drove. I did what I needed to do - no more, no less," explained Hamilton.

"I don't focus on the gap [to Bottas] because I allowed the gap to be the size that it was, so that's not really an issue for me. Obviously the strategy was not ideal in the scenario I had but with what I was given I think I did a relatively decent job. But obviously the start I lost out by a lot."

As well as car issues, Hamilton also had to manage his medium tyres when completing his second stint of 43 laps whilst also being asked by team bosses to cover Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who had stopped moments earlier in the race.

F1 Grand Prix of Australia

"I drove well off the pace to make sure at the end of the race I still had life left in the tyres," added Hamilton, who successfully saw off a late challenge from Max Verstappen to secure second place.

Hamilton has struggled in Melbourne in recent years, failing to win at Albert Park in his last four attempts, but the Brit remains full of confidence as he makes the trip back to Europe.

"I've been here a long time and it's a long year to go and there's a lot of knowledge we can take from this race. The glass is half full," he continued.

"Positive things to take. I'll go back to Europe straight away and I'll be back in the factory during the week and by the time I get there, Wednesday or Thursday, I'll have a much better understanding of the damage that was on the car, understanding about the start and how to correct that for the next one."

Mercedes will be looking to back up their winning start when they head to Bahrain for the GP on April 4.

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