Ferrari boss has good news for Lewis Hamilton as he makes ‘wake up’ claim

Mercedes slipped to fourth in the pecking order at the Bahrain GP last weekend, after being nearly a second per lap slower than Max Verstappen.

Despite the despondent mood amongst Mercedes after their miserable start to the season, Red Bull and Ferrari are expecting the Silver Arrows to bounce back at next weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, rather than fall further behind.

Ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Mercedes were expected to respond to their 2022 woes, by challenging Ferrari and Red Bull.

The complete opposite happened, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell having been six-tenths behind Max Verstappen in qualifying.

Russell qualified sixth with Hamilton in seventh, whilst in the race it was the seven-time World Champion who came out on top.

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Hamilton finished fifth whilst Russell had to settle for seventh, with the former Williams driver having been behind both Aston Martin drivers.

Mercedes were no match for Ferrari, Red Bull or Aston Martin, with the Germans having been the fourth fastest team at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur isn’t disregarding Mercedes as a title threat just yet despite their woeful start to the season, with the Frenchman believing that Mercedes “will wake up soon”.

“It’s race one and we don’t have to do any conclusion,” Vasseur said.

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“I think that Mercedes will wake up soon. We don’t know what will happen next week. The next race will be a different story in Jeddah with a different tarmac. So let’s see in Jeddah if we have a better picture.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is also expecting Mercedes to bounce back, with the Brit knowing that “things change so quickly” at the pinnacle of motorsport.

Horner is also expecting Mercedes to potentially copy their design, given how much they’ve improved over the winter break.

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“I’ve been around long enough to see things change so quickly,” Horner said.

“I think these cars are still relatively immature and, as teams develop and upgrades come, things will change.

“I think the operating windows of these cars is very narrow and every team in the top three looks like it has developed its own theme. One team has adopted our theme and it made a gain. So I guess at one point it is going to converge and that can happen during a season.”