Lewis Hamilton’s Red Bull remark speaks volumes as Mercedes view shared after Bahrain GP

At the Bahrain Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton had a mixed weekend to start his final season behind the wheel of a Mercedes.

At the Bahrain Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton acknowledged that Mercedes was “farther back from Red Bull than they had thought” following a lackluster start to the season. At the Sakhir International Circuit, the Silver Arrows battled for race pace before finishing in P5 and P7.

With George Russell and Hamilton posting P3 and P9 qualifying finishes, respectively, there was still some hope that Mercedes, given their pace in Formula Two, could seriously challenge Red Bull in 2024.

After three laps of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Russell grabbed P2 from Charles Leclerc, making the atmosphere in the Mercedes camp even more upbeat. But shortly after, he began experiencing issues with engine cooling, and by the time the checkered flag flew, the 26-year-old had dropped to fifth place in the standings, behind the drivers of Red Bull and Ferrari.

Hamilton also had his share of problems. After passing Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri, the illustrious Brit was left moaning about a “broken seat” halfway through the race, and he was only able to improve his dismal P9 grid slot by two positions.

Following the Bahrain Grand Prix, Hamilton acknowledged that Mercedes’ assessment of their lead over Red Bull was inaccurate. He told Sky Sports F1 after the race, “I personally feel great, physically I feel great so winter training has worked.” I don’t know about everyone else, but I think the team as a whole is a little let down.

“Obviously, I was hoping that we would perform better this weekend than we did, but it was a difficult race with close calls for all of the drivers and high car degradation. We have a lot of room for improvement. We also underestimated how far away the Red Bulls actually were.

For the Mercedes team and Hamilton, who had hoped to get a significant advantage over Red Bull over the winter, this will be a devastating blow. To finish the season’s opening race still behind Ferrari in the standings indicates that they haven’t advanced as much as their competitors.

In advance of the trip to Jeddah on Saturday of next week, Hamilton did point out a few advantages from the weekend. “I mean, the car is dependable,” he went on. However, I believe that today’s drive was difficult. In contrast to some of the others, the platform, where I was provided everything, didn’t have as much performance.

“I think if I would have qualified better, I would be a good couple of places ahead because the last stint was good. It was about discovery today, I found out a lot of things about the car to improve and I’m sure the team will.”

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