Heading into this weekend’s Brazil GP, seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton trails Max Verstappen by 19 points after the Dutchman took a commanding win last time out at the Mexican Grand Prix.
Mercedes had shocked everyone by locking out the front row in qualifying last weekend, but Red Bull hit back in the race as Verstappen dominated after taking the lead at turn 1 on the first lap.
Hamilton and Verstappen were in a close fight for the win at Interlagos two years ago before Safety Cars intervened.
The Brit is staying hopeful despite believing Red Bull have the faster package at the moment.
“Their pace was obviously phenomenal in the last race,” said Hamilton.
“They’ve had a strong car all year, they’ve had the strongest car, you can tell. I think we’ve done as good as I think we could.
“We are definitely going to be pushing this weekend to see if we can squeeze any more from out of the car.
“Last time here they were incredibly strong so we anticipate again they will be very hard to beat this weekend. Where there’s a will there’s a way, hopefully.”
For the third and final time in 2021, a sprint race will be taking place on Saturday afternoon. It means the drivers and teams will have only one session to get the car working well before parc ferme comes into effect.
“What we try and focus on is getting the car in the right window which isn’t easy,” said Hamilton.
“It’s not an easy car to set up but I think it’s probably similar for everyone so just sitting with the engineers, even before now and just trying to make sure we start on the right foot because you only have P1 so it’s even more intense this weekend.”
Rumours surfaced earlier today that Hamilton could face a 5-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race because of another ICE change. The Brit isn’t aware of a potential grid drop at the moment, though.
“I can’t really comment at the moment, I don’t know,” he said.
“I don’t think the engines have even arrived this morning. So as far as I’m aware, currently my engines are fine.
“But I’ll find out, obviously, later on. We’ve not even done engineering yet.”