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Bahrain GP: Race team notes - Mercedes

NEWS STORY
20/03/2022

Lewis brought the W13 home in P3 with George just behind in P4 after a dramatic opening race of the 2022 F1 season. Both drivers made positive starts with Lewis moving up to P4 and George up to P6 in the opening stages of the race.

A late safety car and reliability issues for the cars ahead allowed the team to take their opportunities and complete an effective damage limitation weekend.

Lewis Hamilton: A big, big congratulations to Ferrari, I'm so happy to see them doing well again, they are such a historic and epic team. It was a difficult race for us today, we've struggled throughout practice and this is really the best result we could have got. Of course it was unfortunate for the other two drivers but we did the best we could and we are grateful for these points. I know the guys are working really hard back at the factory and it is not going to be a quick turnaround but we've been the best unified team for so long, we all know to just keep your head down, keep working, there's a long way to go. We've got to maximise our weekends and at some point, we'll be back in the fight.

George Russell: It was a positive race, I made a good start and then Lewis and I were on a race of our own, albeit on different strategies. We came home with a P3 and P4 for the team which we would have definitely taken prior to the weekend so in a long championship, we can be pleased with how today went. Considering we're half a second behind in qualifying and probably the same, if not more, on race pace, it was a good damage limitation weekend. There's a lot of potential in the car and we really need to dig down into the data and understand how to extract the performance. We recognise our rivals are a long way ahead of us, we know what the overall limitations of the car are, and we won't settle until we have the chance of the win.

Toto Wolff: Today we were punching above our weight class, with the Red Bulls DNF-ing, but third and fourth is a fantastic result. I think with the Soft tyre, on pure pace before the tyre degrades, we are almost there - not where Leclerc is but with the others. Then degradation is too big and today we tried to do something different by putting the Hard on but it was a second slower every single lap so lesson learned. I think we were over winged today, we had too much drag and that is just because we are lacking parts at the moment but hopefully we can remedy that, and make progress on the top two's advantage. We really need to leave no stone unturned on the PU side and look for all performance gains but the wing was the issue for us today on straight line speed. At the moment we are fifth and sixth on the track, and we are trying to recover ground but it is not going to come from one day to the other - we'll keep pushing.

Andrew Shovlin: We knew we weren't quick enough coming into the weekend so our goal for this weekend was one of damage limitation in the championship. In terms of pace we're more or less on our own; we couldn't realistically put any pressure on Red Bull and Ferrari, and we weren't really under any pressure from behind. This allowed us to play a bit with the strategy, moving quite early to a three stop with Lewis. Our priority has to be to get on top of our current performance issues; we don't have a car to fight for pole or race wins and that isn't something that we can tolerate for long if we ambitions to win the championships. The balance was quite tricky but the main issue is just a lack of grip, caused by the fact that we have to run the car so high to avoid the bottoming. However, the weekend hasn't been without it's positives. The gaps are pretty big but we can see so much performance that we can bring relatively quickly, the team has also worked well and the car has been reliable. We have a lot of ideas to explore to improve our pace and we'll be working hard over the next few days and weeks to bring those to the track.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Bahrain, here.

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