Hamilton admits P5 flattered ‘miles away’ Mercedes in Bahrain GP
Lewis Hamilton believes that his fifth-place finish in the Bahrain Grand Prix was an illusion with Mercedes “miles away” from Formula 1 pace-setters Red Bull.
Hamilton qualified seventh in Sakhir, but quickly improved to fifth at the start, running behind the four cars from Red Bull and Ferrari, and was locked in battle with Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin.
Alonso eventually slithered past at Turn 10 and then caught and passed Carlos Sainz for fourth – which eventually became third after Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari retired on Lap 41.
With Mercedes already admitting their 2023 concept is flawed and a change being required, a downbeat Hamilton said that the reality for Mercedes in Bahrain was worse than appeared.
“We were miles away,” the seven-time champion explained to media, including RacingNews365.
“There was a Ferrari that would have been ahead of [Alonso], so we would have really been sixth [had Leclerc not retired], so a podium was nowhere near.
“It generally felt the same as last year.
“When we did the strategy in the morning, I told the guys it wasn’t going to go as far as they said it was going to go – and it didn’t.
“We have just got a lot of work to do. We have just got to add downforce to the car – we’re lacking a lot of downforce.
“That is really where the [lap] time will come from. As soon as we put more load on the rear and the front, we’ll pick up the pace.”
Needing to be a “positive” light
With Mercedes seemingly no closer to returning to the front of the grid following their record-breaking spell of dominance, Hamilton says it is vital he becomes a “positive light” for the team.
“Concerned wouldn’t be the word,” he said when asked about his feelings about the apparent lack of progress.
“There is nothing I can say, and I don’t want to say too much, we’ve just got to keep working.
“We know we are not where we need to be and we know that this isn’t the right car. It is a difficult one.
“But I’ve just got to try and stay positive, keep my head up and keep pushing the guys.
“Keep trying to be a positive light for them and get the best points I can.”