Lewis Hamilton expects Ferrari’s latest upgrade package to give the Italian team a major boost this weekend, on the back of Fernando Alonso´s strong showing in Montreal.
Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes have all chosen to introduce their versions of Red Bull’s blown diffuser in Valencia, although the real benefits will only been seen at a track with fast corners, such as Silverstone. McLaren meanwhile is saving its big step for that race.
“I’m going to be very interested to see [what happens],” said Hamilton of Ferrari’s prospects. “But I think they are going to be very, very quick. I think the updates that they have have less effect here, but it Silverstone it’s a big effect, and in Barcelona it would be a big effect. I think on the street circuits it’s less of a step. I think inevitably it’s going to be a couple of tenths, maybe three tenths.
“Ferrari have got the upgrade, and they were very close in the last race, so they’ll be very quick this weekend. Mercedes weren’t that close in the last race, so I’m not expecting them to overtake us, but maybe catch us up. And Renault have been very quick. But I think the main one you have to think of is Ferrari.
“We’ve got an upgrade coming, but ours is just as race later than the others. How good their upgrade compared is to maybe our upgrade is the interesting thing.
“I’m as excited as you guys to see how their new components pan out in the next couple of days. We’re just going to continue on the route that we’re on, and hopefully that will work for us.”
Lewis says that despite McLaren’s back-to-back one-twos, the team should not be regarded as favourites.
“Red Bull I still think are in contention, and this weekend you’ll see Ferrari step up to it. Just on those weekends we came out as favourites. We’re only half way into the season and there’s still a long way to go. There’s going to be quite a lot of changes in the last bulk of races. What is it, 11 races now? It’s a lot of races, so still a long way to go.
“It feels great to finally get the results, but you don’t just live off those, you put those races behind. You don’t live off the past. You’ve got to take each race one at a time, and it’s going to be tough. I think the next couple of races are going to be very tricky races.”