Mercedes recognize Ferrari as a threat

Thu Sep 24, 2015 5:57am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - Formula One world champions Mercedes see resurgent Ferrari as a genuine threat and have done since early in the season, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg said at the Japanese Grand Prix on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters only days after Sebastian Vettel won in Singapore for his third victory in 13 races for the Italian team, the Mercedes team mates agreed Ferrari were firmly on their radar.

"They are a threat and we do take them very seriously," said Rosberg, who is second in the championship -- 41 points behind Hamilton but now only eight clear of Vettel with six races remaining.

"They have been a threat at various times throughout the whole season."

Hamilton, who failed to finish in Singapore in his first retirement of the year, said he had never ruled Ferrari out of the equation.

"How seriously I take it (the Ferrari threat) hasn't changed since Malaysia," said the Briton, winner of seven races this year with 11 poles in 12 races until Singapore when Vettel was fastest on Saturday and Sunday.

"For me everyone's a threat and they (Ferrari) have been since Malaysia (in March). Since then they've always been in view... we've been aware of them all year."

Hamilton said post-Singapore analysis of what went wrong in Singapore, where Vettel was a second and a half faster than Mercedes, had produced a lot of explanations for what had happened.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One drivers Lewis Hamilton (L) of Britain and Nico Rosberg of Germany attend the unveiling ceremony of a monument in Suzuka, Japan, September 24, 2015, ahead of Sunday's Japanese F1 Grand Prix. REUTERS/Thomas Peter -