losangelesnewstoday.com May 21, 2018

Hamilton: Ferrari has chosen its number one

05 June 2017, 08:04 | Stacy Ballard

Raikkonen was stoney-faced and more taciturn than usual when retired 2016 champion Nico Rosberg interviewed him by the podium.

Taking full advantage of generous support from teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who led from pole position to the start of the pit-stops, the four-time champion came home 3.1 seconds clear of the Finn in glorious Mediterranean sunshine.

The Silver Arrows appear to be losing their grip on their mantle as the kings of F1 in the V6 hybrid era given the the performance of Ferrari this season, with Sebastian Vettel leading the Drivers' Championship by 25 points following his victory in Monaco on Sunday. The Mercedes driver believes that deficit is going to be even harder to overhaul if Ferrari is favouring Vettel. "Well it's definitely not going to be easy".

"It's very clear Ferrari have chosen their number one driver and are pushing everything to make sure Sebastian will maximise his points", Hamilton said after the race in Monte Carlo, as quoted by BBC Sport.

Vettel agreed with his boss that Ferrari's pit strategy simply happened to work out in his favour.

"It's very hard for the leading auto (here) to get jumped by the second vehicle unless the team decide to favour the other vehicle... so that's very clear".

"We've definitely got to improve the understanding of the vehicle we have and see if we can do a better job", he added. It's not like we came here unprepared, things just did not get off right. "There's so many things we have got to look into to try to understand why one vehicle could make it work and the other couldn't. We just have to make sure we are ahead of Ferrari, so we don't have to be in that same scenario that they were in on Sunday".

Stokes century punishes South Africa
South Africa's bowlers improved from the first match of the series at Headingley in Leeds on Friday, when England won by 72 runs. De Kock faced 103 balls including 11 fours but the real drama on a now gloriously sunny day was still to come.

With Valtteri Bottas finishing fourth in Monaco to close to within 29 points of his teammate - compared to a gap of 62 points between the Ferrari drivers - Hamilton says he won't ask Mercedes to prioritize his own title challenge.

"From the team point of view, there was no plan of any team orders or anything but I can understand that obviously Kimi's not happy", Vettel said.

"I don't now feel that we have to have a No1", Hamilton said.

"It was the most unusual way the vehicle has felt in all the years I've been with the team". Both of our work has to work collectively in the battle to beat Ferrari in the constructors'.

"There might be some things along the way that position-wise, at some stage, might become valuable, but who knows what is going to happen".

"I know how it feels, it's not a good feeling", reigning champion Nico Rosberg, who retired at the end of a year ago, consoled him at the post-race interview. "I really am happy", he said.

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