Formula 1 news - Lewis Hamilton: Ferrari are a step ahead for the season after early preparation
Lewis Hamilton thinks Ferrari may have got ahead of his Mercedes team by throwing their efforts into this season’s car earlier in 2018.
The Briton thinks that because it became likely that Ferrari would not win the title in 2018, it allowed them to begin preparation for the new campaign early.
He said: “Obviously during the year you have a huge group of people who are working towards winning world championships.
" If you’re not looking like you’re going to win the world championship out of worry you might pull some of the team off earlier."
“So most likely they started developing this car a month at least earlier than us, maybe.”
New aerodynamic rules for this season also offer Ferrari a possible advantage, according to Hamilton, who went on to win his fifth world title – only the third man to do so after Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio – in Mexico.
He added: “You only have a certain amount of resources you can use, you want to continue to make sure you solidify and win the current championship, or do you want to tail off to make sure that next year’s good?
“But you don’t know that next year’s going to be good because the rules change. So it’s trying to find a balance.”
Despite the perceived gap to Ferrari, Hamilton is nonetheless upbeat about the new season.
“I’m really, really proud of what my team has done to get us to where we are today,” he continued. “It’s not that I’m worried or anything or disappointed or anything, we’re just incredibly encouraged and infused with the fact that we’re working as hard as we are.
“We’ve got a hill to climb but we know how to do it. It’s just about how we strategise how diligent we are in these next days to analyse what we do, no shortcuts and try to bring more performance.”