Lewis Hamilton thinks that Mercedes are not going to win at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The German team have been well off the pace for much of the pre-season and Friday’s two practice sessions did not suggest at any major problems.
Indeed, former world champion Hamilton said that his team were facing ‘much, much bigger problems’ than they had encountered before, after regulations were overhauled between seasons, leading to huge redesigns for this campaign’s cars.
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Mercedes have gone with a unique sidepod design but Red Bull team principal Christian Horner noted that they were struggling with ‘particularly aggressive’ problems with porpoising compared to Max Verstappen’s and others’ cars.
The BBC reported that Hamilton, who was ninth fastest on Friday, was looking towards the long term for improvement.
“It appears as if it is going to be a longer term fix,” said Hamilton.
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“It’s the balance and the bouncing and the loss of downforce we have compared to others. We are a long way off. We’re not bluffing like people assumed we were. It is what it is. We will work as hard as we can through it and do what we can.
“I am just realistic. We are not going to be in the race for a win here. The Red Bulls are a long way ahead, it is in the region of 0.8-0.9secs ahead of us and Ferrari are something like 0.6secs ahead of us. We are fighting with whoever is behind them.”
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff added: “Red Bull is in a league of their own and then there is a bunch of teams that is in a corridor of fuel weight and engine modes. The regulations were made to bunch the field up and that’s what’s going to happen.” Perhaps not with Red Bull, though?
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