Hamilton unsure if Mercedes can fix weaknesses before 2018 0

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Lewis Hamilton has expressed doubts as to whether his Mercedes team can address its current weaknesses ahead of the 2018 season.

The British driver won the recent Singapore GP but ultimately, the car has struggled with high-downforce, slower F1 circuits such as Marina Bay (Singapore).

Mercedes main competitor, Ferrari, scored one-two finishes in the previous two Grand Prix in Hungary and Monaco. Sebastian Vettel took pole in Singapore but crashed out, while Hamilton was down in fifth with teammate Valtteri Bottas just behind the German.

It was revealed by Bottas after the race that Mercedes is working on an upgrade to the W08 engine. It wasn’t ready for Singapore however and Hamilton has doubts that the improvements can be effectively implemented by the 2018-2019 season.       

“I think this weekend really shows the strengths and weaknesses of our car and the characteristics,” Hamilton said.

“In the dry conditions we were nowhere, so to come to probably our weakest circuit, perhaps second or first to Monaco, and win is obviously a great result.

“We’ve got to stay on our toes and keep trying to extract everything out of this car.

“We understand what we can do, potentially for the future, to make it better. It won’t happen with this car; potentially for the next one.

“We’ve just got to make sure [when] we do it that it doesn’t make it worse, because it’s actually pretty good elsewhere.”

Despite Hamilton having opened a sizable gap of 28-points in the Championship and the remaining circuits suiting the Mercedes, the British driver thinks the race to the title will be a close one right till the end.

“Malaysia, I think we should be OK,” he added.

“Then we have Japan, high downforce circuit, could be close – [the] Red Bulls are very, very strong at that circuit, it won’t definitely be our strongest circuit.

“Austin, I think we’ll be fine. I think Brazil would be a place where these guys will be particularly strong. Ferrari will be particularly strong.

“Honestly, I think it’s going to be very close in the next races.

“It’s hard to predict. Maybe when you go to Mexico, for example, you’ve put your maximum downforce on, but because it’s so high [in altitude] there’s little drag and maybe the cars that have a bit more downforce might just have the edge on us.

“But it’s all hearsay. We’ll find out when we get there.”

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