Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton: “We’ve got a lot of work to do to add more to the car”

4 Mins read
Credit: Jiri Krenek/ Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team

After a fifth place finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton admitted that both he and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team have a ‘lot of work to do’ if they are to contend for race victories in 2023.

Starting from seventh on the grid, the seven-time world champion got off to a hot start, jumping ahead of both George Russell and Fernando Alonso by turn four to claim fifth place on the track.

The British driver would undertake a two-stop strategy, with his second stop coming a little earlier than planned as the Mercedes pit-wall wanted to avoid allowing Alonso the chance of a possible undercut.

By the time Alonso had pitted for a second time, the Spaniard was on the charge and Hamilton’s resistance would only last so long as the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team driver made a gutsy, late-breaking overtake.

Encouragingly for Mercedes, Hamilton managed to hang onto the SF-23 of Carlos Sainz Jr. until the end of the race but ultimately never got close enough to attempt an overtaking manoeuvre on the Scuderia Ferrari driver, leaving Hamilton having to settle for a fifth place finish.

On the other hand for Mercedes, Hamilton would cross the line a whopping fifty seconds after Max Verstappen claimed victory, leaving the Brackley-based team with a mammoth task ahead of them if they are indeed to challenge for victories in 2023.

After the race Hamilton believed that the team had had taken away the best possible result they could get from the weekend, admitting that currently the W14 sits as the fourth best car on the grid.

“We did the best we could today. We are the fourth fastest team right now, and the Ferrari and Aston that we were battling were just quicker than us.

“It was close for a second with Sainz, but I couldn’t hang on and he just went away in the final laps. Big congratulations to Fernando and the whole Aston Martin team too. They did a great job today.

While the outlook for their season may not be too dissimilar from last season at first glance, Hamilton vowed to stay positive, offering a strong reassurance in his teams ability to turn around the performance of the W14.

“We are lacking a lot of downforce, and we’ve got a lot of work to do to add more to the car. As soon as we put more load on the front and rear, we will be able to pick up our pace.

We’ve just got to keep working; we know we are not where we need to be. I’ve got to stay positive, keep my head up and keep pushing the Team. I will be a positive light for them and get the best points I can.

George Russell: “We are lacking performance and we are a long behind where we want to be”

George Russell offered a similar outlook on Mercedes’ fortunes at the Bahrain International Circuit, with the young British driver believing that they have one of the easier problems to solve when it comes to the W14’s performance.

Russell immediately lost out to his team-mate on the race start and soon came under pressure from Lance Stroll but after the two Aston Martin drivers touched down at turn four, Russell was able to reclaim his original start position of sixth place.

The British driver was able to fend off Alonso through the opening stages but despite his best efforts come lap thirteen, Russell’s resistance would finally come to an end as Alonso made the overtake stick at turn six.

The twenty-five year old would then lose out to Stroll after the Aston Martin pit-wall perfectly executed the undercut, allowing Stroll to have the tyre temperatures underneath him to make an overtake possible just after Russell had emerged from the pits.

Russell remained unthreatened behind by Valtteri Bottas and despite being able to hold onto the back of Stroll, an overtaking opportunity would ultimately never present itself. Leaving Russell having to settle for a seventh place finish and securing a sixteen-point haul for Mercedes.

The Mercedes driver echoed the viewpoint of Hamilton after the race, believing that a lack of downforce on the W14 was the main factor as to why Mercedes lacked performance around the Bahrain International Circuit.

“We are lacking performance and we are a long behind where we want to be. Aston Martin are the surprise package this year and our deficit to Red Bull and those ahead is too big.

The positive we can take away is that there is no fundamental problem with the car, other than it is lacking downforce. As silly as it sounds, that is one of the easiest problems to solve compared to what we had to do last year.

Despite believing that Mercedes’ issues could be an easy fix, Russell then revealed he would be willing to sacrifice the new season entirely if it meant that the team could turn their attentions to 2024 and be in a position to once again contend for race victories.

We are all here to win. If we must sacrifice some races or part of this season to give ourselves a chance to fight in the second half of the season, or even next year, that is what we are going to have to do.

We know the Team is good at developing and finding performance, but we are a long way behind where we want to be. We need to find some performance quickly. Bahrain is an outlier circuit, but performance isn’t going to swing more than three tenths positively or negatively from track to track.”

Credit: Jiri Krenek/Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team

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