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‘Another really bad start’ for Mercedes won’t drive Hamilton elsewhere · RaceFans

In the round-up: Toto Wolff downplays prospect of Lewis Hamilton leaving Mercedes at the end of the year after team’s poor start to the season.

In brief

Hamilton and Mercedes will stick together – Wolff

Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff believes Lewis Hamilton‘s confidence in the team remains unchanged despite starting the season on the back foot for the second year in a row.

“The Lewis situation, you heard him on the radio. I think he’s an integral part of the team, picking the team up, and we’re always sticking together,” said Wolff.

“I don’t think that’s going to change just because we’ve had another start that was really bad. We won eight constructor championships and we won six driver championships with him and that’s holding, that relationship holds.”

Toto Wolff, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023 pre-season test
Wolff is confident Hamilton won’t look elsewhere for titles

Wolff did not comment on if Mercedes have a back-up plan for if Hamilton did decide to leave in the future, saying “I think it’s not the point to talk about the driver situation in 2024”. However the pair have already spoken about extending his current deal, which expires at the end of this year.

Alfa Romeo pleased to beat McLaren and Alpine

Alfa Romeo departed the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix fifth in Formula 1’s constructors’ standings and ahead of two of the teams they languinshed behind last year.

Valtteri Bottas started 12th and finished eighth. Team mate Zhou Guanyu lined up one place behind him on the grid but ended the race a lapped 16th and could only take solace in netting fastest lap for the second time in his F1 career.

“The team did a really good job tonight and we can be satisfied with the final result, which shows our continuous progress and the value of the work we did during pre-season testing,” said Alfa Romeo’s team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi. “We were in the top five teams for the whole of the race, and we finished ahead of McLaren and Alpine, which is as much as we could have hoped to get tonight

“It was a good collective effort: the drivers did well in the car, with the added teamwork contribution of Zhou setting the fastest time at the very end; the strategic choices and the pit stops were really good, and all together we contributed to the four points we bring home.

“This result is in line with what we were expecting following last week’s testing and the data we got in practice.”

Tough debut weekend for F3 rookie Browning

Luke Browning was a late addition to the Formula 3 grid with Hitech GP, being confirmed just days before racing began, but he impressed on his first weekend in the championship by charging from 17th to fifth in Sunday’s feature.

“It’s really difficult,” Browning said of his first race experiences. “I knew it was going to be all about tyre management. It’s something the team highlighted for me. I really tried in the opening laps to not use too much, not do too many wheelspins before the start and not over-push the tyres early on. The car was great today and I’m glad I was able to do this result.

“It’s super tough. I did no GP3 [test] days going into the season [and] I didn’t do the post-season test out in Jerez last year. I’ve literally rocked up at the first round but Hitech did a great job of making me as prepared as possible, using the simulator back at the workshop. We knew our race runs from testing were really strong and thankfully, I could show that in today’s race.”

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On this day in motorsport

  • 25 years ago today McLaren locked out the front row of the grid for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, seven-tenths clear of Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari

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