Sep.12 (GMM) Lewis Hamilton at Monza tempted his Ferrari rivals into a psychological battle of words, as the championship battle whittles down to just five races to go.
With a two point advantage over Felipe Massa, the championship leader was in defiant mood on the eve of the Italian grand prix weekend.
"I think Massa is on the back foot and he is the one that has to work damn hard to keep up with me," said Hamilton, who drives for McLaren.
Brazilian Massa, 27, spoke with less of a swagger as he also addressed the media on Thursday.
"We saw this year that you have some races where maybe Ferrari was a little bit better. You had other races where perhaps McLaren were a little bit better. It's really difficult to make a clear comment on whether we have an advantage or they have an advantage," he said.
Hamilton's strike did not end at one Ferrari driver, however, as he analysed the reasons for how he closed on world champion Kimi Raikkonen in the drizzly last laps at Spa-Francorchamps a week ago.
"That's the way he drives. If you don't have the balls to brake late, that's your problem," the Briton said, referring to Raikkonen.
"At the end of the day, in those situations, it's the driver who can feel the grip more - and put the car more on the edge - that gets past. I'm great in those conditions," Hamilton added.
Both Raikkonen and Massa, who have said Hamilton was right to have had his Belgian GP win taken away, did not agree.
"Everyone has an opinion but I don't see it like that," Finn Raikkonen replied. "He had more grip and he was in a better position after he cut the corner."
Massa added: "We have seen many times this year that in the rain we lost a little bit of performance."