Lewis Hamilton has vowed not to slow down in F1 2019 after storming to another emphatic race victory, claiming that Mercedes should "always be pushing" amid a record-breaking start to the season.
The moment you sit back is the moment you lose, Hamilton told Sky F1 in an ominous warning to his rivals. I don’t plan on doing that.
Sky F1’s Paul Di Resta said Hamilton was in a league of his own at the French GP as he converted pole into a third straight win, increasing his championship advantage and also extending Mercedes’ perfect streak.
But Hamilton has urged his team, who are aiming for a sixth consecutive constructors’ crown this year, not to rest-up – citing an instruction not to push for the fastest lap towards the end of a race he eventually won by 18 seconds.
They were like, ‘don’t bother with the fastest lap, you can’t get the fastest lap’, said Hamilton, who posted a personal best on lap 53 before Sebastian Vettel, on fresh tyres, pipped him for the extra point late on.
[I said] what do you mean? We have nothing to lose and I’m going for it.
And I went for it and I nearly got it. It’s just switching the mentality to always be fighting, always be hungry and always be pushing. There’s never a moment you shouldn’t be pushing.
Mercedes have won all eight races this season and have also secured six pole positions. Hamilton added: My team is quite calm so you get a sense sometimes it’s what they expect and they’re like, ‘of course, pole position, that’s what we expect’.
So they are internally happy, but it’s a little bit of an odd one. It’s just always wanting to elevate. After every race we have something that we could do better.
Hamilton also issued some advice for Ferrari, who appear to have a more powerful engine than Mercedes but were consistently losing time in the corners at Paul Ricard – a theme of the season so far.
I really do hope we have more close races like [in Canada], said Hamilton. I really hope Ferrari bring some extra downforce rather than keeping the straights fast.
Get some speed through the corners so we can start racing each other.
He continued: We definitely don’t plan on slowing down.
Hamilton: Super start ‘doesn’t feel real’
Hamilton expanded on his point of view in his later evening media session, also bringing Red Bull into the debate.
The goal is to have a car that works on all tracks, he told reporters. You look at the Red Bull back in the day and they’d be strong, and still are strong, at places like Monaco and Hungary.
They just continue to do the same philosophy for whatever reason, with a massive rake and it appears a lot of drag, which doesn’t always suit everywhere.
We adapt each year, and we don’t necessarily think every year that we do it best. Maybe the others have a point, this will be better there, but it seems that some of the other teams don’t do that necessarily.
On his season so far, Hamilton added: I definitely didn’t expect to have six wins at this point and it doesn’t feel real.
Particularly as you see that Valtteri has been quick, he’s been punching in great qualifying sessions and even in race pace in others he was strong. Everyone was hyping him up.
But I just had to remain centred and continue to believe that I will figure it out and gain ground. You’re now seeing that.
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