Lewis Hamilton ramps up pressure on Verstappen with Mercedes admission before Brazil GP
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Lewis Hamilton has put the pressure on Max Vertsappen by implying Mercedes have done well to be as close to Red Bull as they are this season. Following Verstappen’s dominant win at last Sunday’s Mexico City Grand Prix, Hamilton trails his rival by 19 points in the title race, and is up against it as he seeks a record-breaking eighth world crown.
The British driver desperately needs to make inroads into that gap at the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend, but his hopes could yet be dealt a further blow before the race even begins in Sao Paulo.
It’s been widely reported that Hamilton, 36, will have to take a five-place grid penalty in Interlagos as his team need to make a change on his internal combustion engine.
Last month, he took a mandatory 10-place penalty at the Turkish Grand Prix after his team installed a new power unit in his car for the fourth time this season, but Mercedes’ problems have seemingly continued after the team noted a drop in water pressure during the race in Mexico.
Hamilton however, thinks he and his team have over-achieved in the circumstances, and hinted that Verstappen should be further ahead in the championship given Red Bull’s pace.
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“I think people underappreciate just how well we’ve done considering the pace they’ve had since day one,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“The struggles we had in testing before the season, then just skimming by and winning the first race and then we had a couple of races where… I just don’t think they optimised and probably made more mistakes than they would have liked to.
“I think we’ve done a pretty good job. But at the end of the day we’ve not been as fast as them most of the time.”
Despite achieving a front-row lockout in qualifying last weekend, Mercedes were notably slower than their rivals during the race, with Hamilton left hanging on to second place under prerssure from Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez.
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