Asked if was worried about the pace of Ferrari, the Brit said: ''I don’t hold any worry about anything. I just try to focus on our job. I don’t know what everyone is doing, there’s different fuel loads. I’ve been in this business a long time so I know how it goes over the first week. It’s not a time to be focusing on others.'' However, he did admit that ‘’Ferrari are very, very strong right now. They’re obviously racking up great mileage as well. It appears they have a better package than last year.’’
How he felt in the new car...
‘’When you first drive a [new] car, you have to take everything with a pinch of salt because it’s never the car you are going to be racing with. The car is usually imbalanced. It takes time to find the sweet spot and a happy place for the car. The car felt similar to last year, in a sense of it wasn’t a massive difference. I think we do have a little less downforce than last year, that’s to be expected. There are some new characteristics in the car in time we’ll find out if it’s better or not.’’
Grilled about the new wings and ‘’big DRS’’
‘’It’s pretty much the same as last year. Nothing’s really changed. The fundamentals are still the same.... just the characteristics of the front wing are different. It means through corners the balance is different to last year: high medium and low.
We have a bigger wing at the back, the car is more draggy, so it pretty much balances it out compared to last year. I really won’t know how that impacts us on the race track when we’re racing people until I get into the race.
At the moment, it feels like a Formula One car of this era.’’
The possible intra-team rivalry at Ferrari
‘’He’s [Leclerc is] obviously very quick, very talented. Most likely he’s going to surprise many people. But you’re talking about a veteran out there, a four-time world champion. There is no substitute for experience. It’ll be interesting to see how those two parallels will work together. Sebastian is a multi-world champion and Charles has a lot of experience to go through. I’ve been in that same position at McLaren [against Alonso].’’
‘’I’m excited for Valtteri. It takes time to dig your roots into a new team. He’s been an invaluable part of the last couple of years. He’s really helped keep us stabilised, in terms of positive energy within the team. He will want to be stronger this year. Me and him have a very good working relationship. We do talk about things with the car and work together. I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced that in the past. That will continue.’’
‘’I would assume he’s going to try and be more aggressive this year. I’m sure he’s going to be pushing harder, pushing harder in his training. I’m sure he knows where he needs to put his focusses to.’’
Hamilton also added the Finn ‘’is probably the most humble driver I’ve worked with.’’