Lewis Hamilton fires Mercedes warning

Lewis Hamilton was downbeat in Bahrain, as Mercedes seem to have made regress over the winter.

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton has warned Mercedes that they are possibly “further behind” than they were last season, after the Silver Arrows were comfortably behind the leading pace on the opening day of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 2023 season certainly hasn’t started the way Mercedes would’ve liked it to, with the Germans having been comfortably behind Red Bull, Ferrari, and Aston Martin in pre-season testing and on Friday in Bahrain.

Whilst the Brackley-based team have solved their porpoising issues from 2022, the W14 seemingly has several other issues, with both Hamilton and George Russell having complained about the balance of the car.

Rear grip appears to be another issue for Mercedes, with Russell having struggled more than Hamilton to adjust to the new car.

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Hamilton was above Russell in both Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2; however, the 38-year-old was still over six-tenths behind pacesetter Fernando Alonso.

Just like 2022, Mercedes appear to be stronger in race trim than over one lap, with the likelihood being that the top five could be a real challenge for the Silver Arrows in qualifying.

Based on race pace, Mercedes look likely to be either the third or fourth best team, with a duel with Ferrari looking on the cards.

Aston Martin appear to be the second strongest team whilst Red Bull unsurprisingly lead the way, a side that Mercedes are a “long way off”.

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“We found out we are a long way off,” Hamilton said after the session.

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“I thought that the Ferraris were second but on the long run we are quite closer to Ferrari, and it looks like Aston Martin are second and we are between third or fourth.

“We are either where we were last year, if not, a little bit further behind.

“It is not where anyone in the team wants to be or deserves to be because everyone works so hard, but we are just on the wrong track. We have to graft away and get ourselves on the right track, but right now we are a long way off the guys in front.”