Lewis Hamilton has clarified his comments regarding Ferrari’s “trick things” following the Belgian Grand Prix, stressing he is not questioning the legality of the SF71H car.

Pole-sitter Hamilton lost out to title rival Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap at Spa on Sunday and was unable to recover the lead, allowing the Ferrari driver to close the gap to 17 points at the top of the drivers’ championship.

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Ferrari appeared to enjoy a dry pace advantage over Mercedes all weekend, thanks in particular to its impressive straight-line speed after introducing an updated power unit for the Spa weekend.

Hamilton said after the race in parc ferme that Ferrari has “got a few trick things going on in the car,” making him powerless to try and reclaim the lead from Vettel.

In the post-race press conference, Hamilton explained how he was referring to Ferrari’s engine performance, and looked to make clear he was not questioning the legality of Vettel’s car.

“I’m not saying that there’s anything illegal on. I’m just saying we all have something trick,” Hamilton said.

“Trick is just something that helps you bring that extra bit of performance. That’s all I mean. I don’t mean anything to it, so please don’t read into it and please don’t twist my words and say that I say they’re doing anything illegal because they’re not.

“They just outperformed us today and we’ve got to work harder, but there are things that they have on the car that we might not have on the car and vice-versa.

“We’ve got to try and find out what and improve on that. That’s it.”

Later in the day, Hamilton took exception to an online newspaper report that claimed he had “accused Sebastian Vettel of using ‘tricks’ to win Belgian Grand Prix”.

“I smell BS,” Hamilton wrote. “Fake news. That’s not what I said.” He also finished the message with a middle-finger emoji.

Questions over the legality of Ferrari’s car arose over the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend at the end of April, prompting the FIA to fit sensors to the battery for Canada as part of an investigation after an inquiry from Mercedes.

The FIA has always stressed it is satisfied with its findings from Ferrari’s car, with race director Charlie Whiting saying on Sunday that he did not read too much into Hamilton’s comments.

“I’m quite amused about it really, because we know quite a lot about Ferrari’s car and there is no way Lewis would know about anything about the Ferrari car,” Whiting said.

“They are doing a good job at the moment and Mercedes have got to try to counter that, haven’t they?
 
“If he says they have got a few tricks going on in that car, then clearly they have got things going on in that car that are giving it performance, which we are all aware of – when I say all, I mean us in the FIA – and obviously we are happy with it.”

 

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