A downbeat Lewis Hamilton said the Bahrain Grand Prix will be “one of the hardest races for us in some time” following a disappointing qualifying session.
The Brit was only able to reach fourth on the grid – out-paced by the Scuderia Ferrari‘s of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, and Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team-mate Valtteri Bottas – and will start the race in ninth due to a five-place gearbox penalty.
Following and overtaking is notoriously difficult in the Mercedes car – demonstrated at the Australian Grand Prix when Bottas started fifteenth and, despite having a car faster than most of the grid, only finished eighth – and this will make the race difficult, says Hamilton.
“Today wasn’t the best of days and tomorrow is going to be one of the hardest races for us in some time,” said Hamilton. “We’ve been trying to get ahead of the Ferraris, but it has been tough, they just had the pace all weekend.
“It wasn’t the greatest of laps from my side and Ferrari had the edge as they often do in these hotter conditions. The goal for tomorrow is damage limitation.”
“I’ve got the Soft tyre, so I should be able to go longer – it’s going to be interesting to see, there’s a couple of different strategies tomorrow. I’ll try and eke out every last bit of power and strength from this car. I don’t know what we are going to be able to achieve tomorrow, but I will give it everything I’ve got and hope that I can do something.“