Lewis Hamilton admits that he didn’t expect to be on the Bahrain podium as he declares Mercedes 3-4 finish a great motivator for the team.
Despite the W13’s various issues, including porpoising, the seven-time world champion was looking good for fifth until the Red Bull pair ran into problems.
As a result, against all expectations, Hamilton was up on the podium with the Ferrari pair, while teammate George Russell brought the second Mercedes home in fourth.
Following the issues encountered in pre-season testing, and again this weekend, Hamilton believes this result will prove a great motivator for his team.
“This is really the best result we could have gotten”, said the Briton in the moments after the race. “It was such a difficult race, we struggled throughout practice.
“I definitely didn’t expect to be up here,” he continued. “Of course, I woke up this morning and I was hopeful and we did everything we could, praying as hard as we could to get the best results, but ultimately it came down to just really hard work from the whole team both here and back at the factory.
“We have a lot of work to do,” he admitted. “We have quite a big deficit in performance but this is a great start still.
“George did a great job to get us third and fourth,” he added, “which I think is pretty remarkable given the problems that we have.
“The thing is with our car, is we have a car that’s bouncing a lot everywhere,” he admitted. “It’s not just in a straight line, we have very poor rear end through all the low-speed corners and all the medium-speed corners.
“The only place that is generally quite good is, relatively, in the high speed corners and then we are very slow in the straight line. So, I don’t know if it’s drag or if it’s power, we haven’t figured that out yet.
“The others, we cannot keep up with them, even with the DRS. We have a lot of work, and what that means is that you are just sliding a lot on the rear, and the tyres just get hotter and hotter and they degrade. So that’s where we’ve got a lot of performance to try and catch up on.
“But given that we have been faced with these challenges, which we were not expecting, no one’s been down during this phase where we’ve been struggling through practice. Everyone’s stayed positive, everyone’s just kept their head down and kept working. No one’s moaned. And that’s great to see.
“So whilst we don’t have the performance of these other guys, I think, in terms of our processes, in terms of squeezing absolutely everything out of the car, I think that’s what we did today and for both drivers, and I think that’s a true showing of strength within.”
Check out our Sunday gallery from Bahrain, here.