Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has cleared the air on the remarks he made after the 2018 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix, pleading the media to not change his words for headlines.
Hamilton and Mercedes were beaten fair and square by Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari in the Belgian GP after the German cleared the British driver on the Kemmel Straight on Lap 1. Hamilton then had no chance of a fight back.
He still leads the championship but the points gap is reduced to 17. However, the biggest fall for Mercedes is the advancement of Ferrari even on a track like Spa-Francorchamps where the German manufacturer had an upperhand so far.
The Italian manufacturer has finally joined the party with a seemingly better engine than Mercedes as things stands with Toto Wolff admitting of more deficits in their car than Ferrari’s after looking at the Belgian GP performance.
Post race, Hamilton said Martin Brundle of the tricks by Ferrari but then clarified his remarks stating that he is not implying that they are using an illegal car. He took to social media to shoot down various reports twisting his words with their headlines.
“I think I could have [passed Vettel on re-start], but again he would have sailed past me on the straight,” said Hamilton to Brundle. “They’ve got a few trick things going on in the car. I did what I could, we did what we could and we’ve just got to keep working.”
Later in the conference, he said: “I’m not saying that there’s anything illegal on [Ferrari]. I’m just saying we all have some trick. Trick is just something that helps you bring that extra bit of performance. That’s all I mean.
“I don’t mean anything to it so please don’t read into it and please don’t twist my words and say that I say they’re doing anything illegal because they’re not. They just outperformed us today and we’ve got to work harder.
“But there are things that they have on the car that we might not have on the car and vice versa and we’ve got to try and find out what and improve on that. That’s it.” In an earlier question, when asked if he thinks Ferrari is bending rules, he said:
“No, we all have trick things on our cars. Trick is just a word for something special, I guess. Just something special. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s on their car so I couldn’t tell you either way.”
Elaborating more on Ferrari’s advantages at Spa-Francorhamps, he said: “We came here with a pretty good upgrade and, I mean, generally, every time we do bring an upgrade they bring a bigger one. But no, we knew they were quick on the straights.
“They were quicker, particularly in qualifying in the last sector. We’ve known for the last four races or so that they’ve had some things on their car that’s enabled them to be quicker on the straights and yeah, we’ve just got to work harder, I guess.
“It’s just power. They’re able to deploy more, somehow, than us, from Turn 1 to Eau Rouge, and then it carries on down the straight. And it’s the same down the back straight. I’m not really sure how but that’s how they are.”
While Vettel took it as a compliment, crediting Ferrari on the whole for the good work done to match with Mercedes or even go one step ahead of their rivals. Wolff, meanwhile, termed Ferrari’s never-seen innovations as ‘interesting’ but had full faith on the FIA.
“I think it is not for us to have a hypothesis of what is happening,” he said, “We see that there is a lot of innovations on the [Ferrari] car, they are really good in bringing lots of bits to the car which is interesting.
“Maybe not that somebody has thought about it, but there is a topic of the FIA and there are a really good bunch of guys in the FIA looking at all of us making sure that we are all compliant to the regulations.”