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Hamilton: They're in another league

NEWS STORY
20/03/2022

Qualifying fifth for the season opener, Lewis Hamilton admits that Red Bull and Ferrari appear to be in another league.

There will be a sense of deja vu for Lewis Hamilton when he lines up on the grid for the Bahrain Grand Prix today, for alongside will be Valtteri Bottas.

Trouble is, the Finn is now at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo, not a Mercedes.

Indeed, with Kevin Magnussen lining up right behind the seven-time world champion, though not exactly seismic there does appear to have been a significant shake-up of the grand order.

Though he gave it all he got, Hamilton was unable to match the pace of the Ferraris and Bulls, admitting that at present Mercedes is not in a position to take the fight to them.

"I'm not saying I'm relieved, but I'm generally really happy today," he told Sky Sports in the moments after qualifying.

"Given how we've been the last few weeks, the struggles we've had and the problems we've had with the car, it's a bit of a nightmare to drive," he admitted. "We've just kept our heads down, kept working away and I'm proud of everyone for just staying positive.

"To get fifth... those guys ahead of us are in another league," he continued. "So I'm generally happy with where we are. It's not the front row, but we will make improvements and do the best we can tomorrow."

Asked how he thinks the race will play out, he said: "Those guys will be going away... we're not in the fight with those.

"They were a second ahead of us yesterday through race pace, so my battle is with the guys behind most likely.

"But of course I'll try to be as fast as I can and get ahead, but as I said their performance is quite ahead of ours."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Bahrain, here.

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