Hamilton says Mercedes a long way off pace

SAHIR, Bahrain – Lewis Hamilton fears Mercedes will be far behind his rivals at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix after finishing Friday’s practice eighth in speed.

Fernando Alonso set the pace during Friday night’s session in Bahrain, with Hamilton leading the race 0.636 seconds slower than Aston Martin and 0.467 seconds behind defending champion Max Verstappen in second place.

Hamilton’s speed with more fuel loading also looked disappointing compared to his competitors, with average lap times more than a second behind Verstappen’s speed on the same tyres.

“We learned that we still have a long way to go,” Hamilton said when asked what he learned from Friday’s training. “We kind of knew that a little in [preseason] test, but this is a big gap.

“Yeah, we’re just… I’m trying everything we can, it’s what it is, we just need to work on it.

“I think I have taken the car to the best place where I can tune it, we will continue to tweak here and there little by little. But these will be small bits, i.e. milliseconds, not closing the gap of the second.

“However, tonight we will sit back, analyze the data, work and move forward tomorrow. We have to find out if we can improve performance tonight.”

Asked how Mercedes engineers see the relative speed of the car in front, Hamilton said he was more likely to take on a Ferrari than an Aston Martin, which he believes could be Red Bull’s closest rival.

“I thought Ferrari were second, but in the long run we are pretty close to Ferrari, it looks like Aston is second, then we are between third or fourth. a little further behind.

“It’s challenging for everyone and not where anyone on the team wants to be or where everyone on the team deserves to be because everyone is working so hard and really being so brave and thoughtful in their process, but we are just on the wrong track. .

“So we have to keep grafting and finding a way to get on the right track, but we’re a long way from the guys ahead.”


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