After Mercedes secured a fourth one-two finish of the 2019 season in Azerbaijan on Sunday, Lewis Hamilton has Ferrari need to raise their game if they want to compete with the all-conquering team.
With Hamilton finishing second behind team mate Valtteri Bottas in Baku, his second victory of the season, Mercedes became the first team in history to have locked out the top of the podium in the first four races of a season.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished third with the German 35 points off the top of the drivers’ championship, with Charles Leclerc in fifth. The Italian manufacturer is already 74 points below Mercedes in the constructors’ standings.
And as the F1 road show heads to Europe, Hamilton thinks Mercedes’ current dominance is just the beginning.
“Until they start performing at the level we are at, then this is how it’s going to be,” said Hamilton.
“We definitely didn’t expect to have the performance we have but I’m glad we do. I just think the team is out-performing itself.
This is the strongest start to a season for a team in F1 history. 4 back to back 1-2’s, wow. I couldn’t be prouder of this team, the sheer amount of hard work and vision I see each day from everyone here is mind blowing @MercedesAMGF1 📷 @MSI_Images pic.twitter.com/5CGMkI3bfN
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) April 28, 2019
“They’re going to have to pick it up if they want to fight us.”
Four-time world champion Vettel was in agreement with his long-time rival.
“He is right, we need to pick it up,” said Vettel, who is on a losing streak which has now extended beyond eight months – his last victory at August’s Belgian Grand Prix.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) April 28, 2019
“We need stronger pace. It is as simple as that. We need to be faster.
“It’s like a Rubik’s cube where you have to have everything in the right order.
“We have a good car, but we’re not using it in the way to get the results we should be getting.”