Unhealthy information for Hamilton’s rivals: Mercedes is getting sooner

Motor Sport Sports
By: AP |

Printed: July 19, 2020 10:14:17 am

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton earlier than qualifying (Supply: Reuters)

The unhealthy information for Lewis Hamilton’s conventional rivals at Ferrari and Purple Bull is that the dominant Mercedes is getting sooner, whereas one other staff utilizing its engines is rising in confidence.

Hamilton’s pole place on the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday was his second straight and third in a row for Mercedes, after Valtteri Bottas’ pole on the season-opening Austrian GP two weeks in the past.

“No doubt it’s a higher automotive than final yr,” Hamilton stated Saturday after clinching his record-extending 90th profession pole by .107 from his teammate.

“We maintain pushing one another to the subsequent stage,” stated Bottas, who gained the Austrian GP earlier than Hamilton adopted up with victory on the Styrian GP from pole final weekend.

Worse nonetheless for Purple Bull and Ferrari is that third and fourth locations on the grid went to the Mercedes-powered engines of Racing Level’s Lance Stroll and Sergio Pérez.

“The automotive was on fireplace right now,” Stroll stated. “I’m going to try to get some large factors tomorrow.”

Racing Level was solely seventh out of 10 groups within the constructors’ championship final yr, however has made a major leap ahead.

“I’d prefer to say congratulations to Racing Level for his or her sturdy efficiency in qualifying,” Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff stated. “I’m actually joyful to see them locking out the second row.”

Stroll’s father — the Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll — runs the staff and his 21-year-old son has a shot at a second profession podium after ending third on the Azerbaijan GP in 2017.

Ferrari competed nicely final yr in qualifying, with Charles Leclerc main Hamilton 7-5 for many poles, however the Ferrari automobiles have been multiple second behind Hamilton’s time on Saturday.

Sebastian Vettel goes from fifth, Leclerc from sixth and Purple Bull’s Max Verstappen from eighth in Sunday’s race.

On a winding monitor which is among the many most troublesome for overtaking in F1, their possibilities of stopping Hamilton from clinching an 86th F1 win to maneuver inside 5 of Schumacher’s document look slim.

Verstappen, who took pole place right here final yr and led a tense race till Hamilton overtook him late on, seems more and more pissed off along with his staff’s automotive.

He gained three races final yr and had hoped to problem Hamilton strongly.

“I don’t know why however clearly one thing isn’t working in comparison with final yr, the place we had actually good automotive stability round this monitor,” Verstappen stated. “It’s arduous to know why as we have now modified loads of issues, however it doesn’t appear to have given us much more lap time. Round right here you actually need a steady automotive.”

Schumacher gained seven F1 titles — yet one more than Hamilton thus far — however Hamilton’s complete of 90 poles already places him 22 away from the previous Ferrari nice.

“I simply must pinch myself, it doesn’t register,” Hamilton stated. “It doesn’t appear actual.”

Hamilton has gained seven occasions on the Hungaroring and the veteran British driver wants yet one more to equal F1 nice Schumacher’s single-track document of eight wins, when the French GP was held at Magny-Cours.

Hamilton’s first win in Hungary was manner again in 2007, the yr after Schumacher’s eighth in France.

Hamilton’s first win for Mercedes was in 2013, the yr after changing Schumacher with the Silver Arrows.

They belong in the identical class as among the many finest drivers in F1 historical past.

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