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Lewis Hamilton piles pressure on Ferrari, claims they could be ‘several months’ ahead

Lewis Hamilton has piled the pressure on Ferrari after suggesting that the Italian team could be “several months” ahead of the rest of the teams in terms of development. The Mercedes driver made the claim owing to Ferrari’s decision to abandon development on their 2021 car early last season to focus on their 2022 challenger.

Ferrari had their worst season in 40 years in 2020 when they finished sixth in the Constructors’ championship. 2021 was all about clawing their way back to the top of the midfield, before getting back to challenging for wins in 2022.

The Maranello-based team managed to finish third behind Mercedes and Red Bull Racing in 2021, but abandoned development on their car very early in the season. They focused all their attention on the 2022 car, with F1 entering a new era with a raft of regulation changes. The only update Ferrari brought in 2021 was a power unit upgrade, which has been carried into the upcoming campaign.

“You would assume that Ferrari perhaps didn’t do much development of that car and just put everything into this year’s car,” Hamilton said, as quoted on Race Fans. “So does that mean that they’re several months ahead? Or a team is several months ahead of everyone? We’ll wait and see.”


Charles Leclerc (2R) and Ferrari CEO Louis C. Camilleri (R) celebrate with team members after winning the Italian GP in 2019
Miguel MEDINA/AFP

Mercedes and Red Bull were locked in a title battle last season, but despite their focus being on 2021 until the end, the two teams are expected to be at the front in 2022. The first pre-season shakedown is under way at the Circuit de Catalanya, and for the first time all 10 teams have cars running.

Hamilton admitted that it was the most exciting part of the season, especially inspecting how every team has interpreted the new rules. The seven-time champ is also hoping the new rules will facilitate closer racing, as promised by the owners of F1 while proposing the changes that have come into effect this season.

“Just this morning arriving and walking down the pit lane and seeing all the different cars, I think it’s one of the most exciting and interesting seasons that we’ve ever embarked on,” he said. “So it’s interesting to see where everyone comes out and where we stand at the start in the first race.”

“But I do hope that these rules deliver what Ross [Brawn, F1 motorsport director] showed us years ago in terms of closer racing. It’s definitely puts everyone hopefully on a more level playing field.”

Lewis Hamilton
Back in business: Lewis Hamilton will race in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Giuseppe CACACE/POOL
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