Lewis Hamilton says the significance of Mercedes’ defeat by Ferrari in the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix has been “blown out of proportion.”
Two weeks after Mercedes secured a dominant one-two in the Australian Grand Prix with Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel beat the duo in a straight fight in Malaysia. It led to suggestions from rival outfits that Mercedes has a fight on its hands, while boss Toto Wolff admitted the victory was a “wake-up call” to his team.
However, Hamilton insists that Ferrari’s victory, in a race where hot temperatures hampered Mercedes’ form but played to the Italian team’s strengths, was not “a big disaster.”
“It wasn’t the best of weekends,” the reigning world champion said. “There were lots of things we did wrong, lots of things we could have done better. But it wasn’t a big disaster, people have definitely blown it out of proportion and hopefully we will correct that this weekend.
“Considering it was a difficult weekend for us, we still got second and third.”
Hamilton conceded that Ferrari had “true pace” in Malaysia, but he is unsure whether that will remain the case ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
“They were very quick,” added Hamilton. “They did a great job and we could have done a better job in terms of looking after our tires and we could have maybe been a bit faster. But it is true pace they have? Whether it continues, we’ll find out here. It’s two different extremes [of conditions] so we’ll have a much better understanding after tomorrow.
“We are not stressed or anything. We’ve had not the most amazing weekend and I think we will be stronger this weekend.”
When asked if he welcomed the challenge of Ferrari, Hamilton said: “Absolutely. That’s why I was quite chilled after the race – you can’t win them all. Second is still good.
“It was just great to have that competition. I wish we were closer. I wish we didn’t have a 10-second gap between us. If he was ahead and I close behind or vice versa, we could have seen a really good race.
“Hopefully we’ll have that here – I think it would be really cool.”