Belgian GP: Lewis Hamilton says Ferrari have best 2017 car
Hamilton fends off Vettel to win Belgian GP; But Briton puts victory down to pole start and says Mercedes need more developments
By Jonathan Green at Spa
Last Updated: 29/08/17 9:52am
Lewis Hamilton maintains Ferrari have the quickest race car this season and says his Mercedes need improvements if he is to win his fourth world title.
After a high-class, race-long battle with title rival Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton claimed victory in the Belgian GP to cut the German's lead in the Drivers' Championship to seven points.
But the 32-year-old thinks his win was largely down to having track position after taking pole position, stating Sunday's win had taken "everything out of him" to maintain the lead.
"I think Ferrari were ultimately quicker. I was just able to keep them at bay," Hamilton told Sky F1.
"If the cars were reversed I don't think I would have been able to hold as close as he did.
"If anyone's out there thinking we have the best car this year then they need to think again, because it's not the case."
Mercedes introduced an updated engine at Spa with the Mercedes' straight-line speed just enough to rebuff Vettel's charge.
"I think we have the upper hand power wise but we've got to keep improving," said Hamilton. "The pressure is on. The next race, package wise, should be similar to this weekend but when we get to Singapore that's really when the test is going to be shown where Ferrari should be really fast as they were in Hungary - so we will see."
The Mercedes driver added: "Ferrari have had the most consistent season and while we've had a solid and well put together weekend, it was only just enough to stay ahead.
"I hope we have more to come and we need more to come in order to win this thing for sure."
Hamilton is adamant he and Mercedes will need to be faultless over the remaining eight grands prix as his battle with Vettel goes down to the wire.
"It's going to take everything from every single one of us to finish these next eight races and come out on top. That's how a championship should be so I'm really looking forward to that challenge," the Briton said.
"It's going to go right down the wire. I'm sure he was waiting for me to make mistakes but that was not happening. It can come down to that, down to reliability, that shift in performance a millimetre either way and then down to our consistency."
'Ferrari need better Saturdays'
Ferrari have not won a world championship since 2008 while they have not claimed the drivers' title for a decade.
Vettel agrees with Hamilton that the SF70H may have the stronger overall package, but says Ferrari need to improve their performances in Qualifying to capitalise on their race-pace advantage.
"I think overall we have the better car but that's for everyone to judge," he told Sky F1.
"There are circuits where we might have an advantage and some where they might have an advantage but if we can change that trend in qualifying where life for them is a little bit too easy then it's a different Sunday. But if that's easy to change we would do it.
"The level is very high, we're fighting the best team in Formula 1. They have won the championship the last three years fighting more or less on their own so I think we've done a very good job to be where we are. That's not enough, we want to be in front and there's a long way to go still.
"Everybody is fired up and I'm pretty confident we'll have good races coming."
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