(Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton suspects Crimson Bull might have the quickest automobile on the Formulation One beginning grid at subsequent week’s Australian season-opener.
Mercedes’ 4 occasions world champion, who stays the bookmakers’ favourite for a fifth title, instructed reporters on Wednesday that Crimson Bull might be the workforce to observe come Melbourne on March 25.
“I feel Crimson Bull are the quickest in the intervening time, doubtlessly,” he mentioned at an occasion for title sponsor and gasoline associate Petronas in Turin, Italy.
“They’ve some type of improve coming, of some magnitude, two-to-four tenths (of a second) or one thing like that. That’s what I heard,” added the Briton.
Ferrari set the quickest laps in pre-season observe however most analysts of these classes noticed Mercedes as nonetheless forward with former champions Crimson Bull probably their closest rivals.
Each Mercedes and Crimson Bull have been focusing extra on lengthy runs and reliability than efficiency in Barcelona.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo and Dutch 20-year-old Max Verstappen gained three races between them final yr to Mercedes’ 12 however completed the season strongly.
Crimson Bull workforce boss Christian Horner has mentioned he nonetheless sees Mercedes as favorites, nonetheless.
“I feel this yr goes to be thrilling, as a result of final yr there was an enormous distinction between groups at first, after which they received nearer,” mentioned Hamilton, who triumphed in 9 races in 2017 after Ferrari gained the opener.
“However this yr I feel it begins this shut after which it’s going to overlap, and separate, and overlap in the course of the yr, as persons are growing.”
Hamilton mentioned he had nonetheless to signal a brand new contract however remained hopeful it might be accomplished earlier than Melbourne. The 33-year-old is out of contract on the finish of the yr however each events have mentioned they need to lengthen.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, modifying by Toby Davis