It's a big gap, admits Hamilton


0.636s off the pace, Lewis Hamilton admits that Mercedes has work to do.

Admittedly, that 0.636s gap is to Fernando Alonso, while Sergio Perez was 'just' 0.467s quicker, but nonetheless Red Bull clearly has more up its sleeve.

As was the case with most teams, Mercedes has brought a raft of upgrades to Bahrain, most noticeably a new rear wing, but on single lap and race pace the W14 was clearly losing out.

"We found out we're a long way off," admitted the seven-time world champion when asked what he had learned from Friday's running. "We kind of knew that a little bit in the test, but it's a big gap.

"We're just... I'm trying everything we can out there, it is what it is, we just have to work at it. Red Bull, just looking at the long runs they are a second a half faster. So, we've got a lot to work on.

"I think I got the car to the best place I can get it setup wise," he added, "we'll continue to tweak little bits here and there. But it'll be small bits, which is milliseconds, not the closing of a gap of a second.

"Nonetheless we'll keep our heads down tonight, go through the data, work and progress tomorrow," he continued. "We've got to find out if there's any way we can add performance tonight.

"Do I believe we can close the gap at some stage? Yes," he insisted. "But I think it's quite hard with the concept we have."

Asked about Alonso and Stroll's astonishing pace in the Aston Martin, he said: "I thought Ferrari were second, but I think on the long runs we are quite close to Ferrari, It looks like the Aston is second and we are between third and fourth, so we are kind of where we were last year, if not a little behind.

"We are just on the wrong track, so we've got to just continue to graft away, and get ourselves on the right track. But right now, we're long way off the guys at the front."

Check out our Friday gallery from Manama here.

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Published: 04/03/2023
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