It was back to square one for Ferrari after their precious evidence to clear Sebastian Vettel of wrongdoing was rejected. One piece of ‘evidence’ was an analysis by former F1 driver Karun Chandhok for Sky Sports F1. The FIA stewards viewed that as a third party’s opinion and thus rejected the evidence. In light of that revelation, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took a stab at Ferrari for that tactic. Ferrari dubbed Chandhok’s post-race video analysis for Sky Sports television as “quite overwhelming” new and relevant evidence.
However, an amused Lewis Hamilton believed otherwise. Speaking to reporters, he said, “When I arrived in the morning (on Friday) I heard that it was Karun Chandhok’s video that was the new evidence and I was pretty relaxed after that,”.
Poor old Vettel was on pole in Canada and looked like a prime candidate to break Mercedes’ winning streak. Unfortunately, though he finished first, a controversial five-second penalty for an off track excursion and an allegedly unsafe method of rejoining the track.
Moving on to the French Grand Prix, the German driver was almost nowhere to be seen. It was the five-times world champion, Lewis Hamilton on pole ahead of Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas.
Vettel could only muster seventh while Monegasque team mate Charles Leclerc slotted into third. With this pole position, Lewis Hamilton extended his pole record to 86, 18 more than Michael Schumacher’s career tally.
Rather thought-provokingly, Lewis Hamilton shied away from complacence and confessed that Valtteri Bottas kept him on his toes.
“I do feel strong but each weekend (that) I come in and feel I’m starting on the right foot, Valtteri goes and puts in bloody good laps every time. I’m constantly being pushed by Valtteri,” he said after qualifying.
“There’s some races where we as a team are not being pushed certainly as hard as we’d like to be by the others,”.
“But the battle within us is, if you look at a lot of the races, half a 10th to a 10th and a half between Valtteri and I. I still have my work cut out, still have to perform and deliver. So the work ethic is exactly the same and the stress is exactly the same as if we were fighting the Ferraris.”
The 34-year-old concluded, “I’m definitely getting a lot more comfortable in the car as we get into the season and I don’t expect that to stop,”.