Lewis Hamilton has admitted surprise over Ferrari's lack of pace over the last number for races. Mercedes dominated proceedings this weekend Japan, taking a one-two finish and mirroring the result it produced in Russia last weekend.
Hamilton took his 50th victory for Mercedes at the Suzuka Circuit and extended his gap to Sebastian Vettel in the driver's championship to 67 points. Mercedes felt a challenge from the Italian outfit earlier in the season, but now Hamilton has been left wondering where its pace has gone.
"Up until the mid-part of the season they were very strong,” said Hamilton. “And then we obviously got to Monza and then after that they were still quite strong.” Then at Singapore was when it really started to tail off. I definitely hadn’t anticipated that they would tail off as they have.
“Not only have they lost a lot of performance, just performances have not been coming in the same as they had before, as strong as they were before. I don’t really have an answer for that and it’s not something I’m really focused on.
"I’m sure Sebastian could tell you why We’ve just been focusing on trying to do the best job we can and maximise the potential of our own ability, that’s all we can do,” he added.
Hamilton can wrap up his fifth world title in two weeks in the U.S, the venue where he took the title three years ago. But he says he isn't thinking about winning the championship just yet, and is simply taking things one race at a time.
"Each week you have a positive weekend and you go to another Grand Prix and you’re not sure how you’re going to fare and how you’re going to perform, because there are still gaps in between.
“But I think we have gone from strength to strength this year as a team, so I really hope that we can. Austin is usually a good track for us, so I can’t wait to unleash this beast there,” he added.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing