Hamilton steers clear of playing mind games with Vettel

26 Mai, 2017, 08:50 | Author: Marie-Claire Cellier

Ferrari's Vettel, a four times world champion, heads into the weekend's showcase Monaco Grand Prix with a six point lead over Mercedes' triple title victor Hamilton after two race wins apiece in 2017.

Vettel's 1:12.720 is the fastest time ever around the streets of Monaco, bettering Lewis Hamilton's best lap from FP1 by 0.7s on the ultra-soft tyres. Critically for the rest of the weekend, it appeared that Ferrari has as much as half a second in hand over its rivals once the ultrasoft Pirelli is fitted.

He showed clearly his relish for the fight in his first session when he topped the times in a best lap of one minute and 13.425 seconds, using Pirelli's ultra-soft tyre, a time that was quick enough to dismiss Mercedes' fears of being disadvantaged by having the longest wheel-base auto in the field.

"After a very positive morning session with both cars and drivers, the afternoon proved more hard and we clearly took a step in the wrong direction with the vehicle set-up over the break", Mercedes' technical director James Allison said.

"For sure it will be close between quite a few cars and so we obviously we need to do a good job". Kimi and I are very satisfied with the car's performance during the long stints.

The 2009 world champion called time on his grand prix career last season, but has been drafted back in by McLaren for a one-off appearance following Fernando Alonso's exploits at the Indianapolis 500.

Canadian rookie Lance Stroll, meanwhile, crashed into the wall on his first grand prix appearance at Monaco.

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"We've got some work to do ahead of Saturday that's for sure but I'm confident the team can work it out".

"Ferrari are very quick and also Red Bull seem really quick this weekend. We're looking forward to a real fight on Saturday".

It was the first time Button has driven a 2017 spec vehicle and he admitted the new machines will take some getting used to.

"When we were racing when he was in the Red Bull auto, of course I wished my vehicle was a little bit quicker so I could have given a battle like I have this year because maybe it wouldn't have been so easy for him".

But team boss Guenther Steiner knows Saturday's qualifying session is just as key - if not more important - than Sunday's race for drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.

"I can't, because I don't understand it", said Hamilton when asked to explain it. "P1 was really good, the auto was feeling great".

His best time was just four hundredths shy of his McLaren team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne.


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