Revealed: Lewis Hamilton’s worrying radio message to Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton managed to finish the Bahrain Grand Prix in P5, ahead of Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin.

Heading into the Bahrain Grand Prix, it was clear that Mercedes were behind Red Bull, Ferrari and even Aston Martin in terms of performance.

With this in mind, Lewis Hamilton’s P5 finish looks relatively impressive, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc’s retirement from the race allowing Hamilton to move up one position.

The 38-year-old finished above the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll and his Mercedes teammate George Russell, capping off a fairly successful weekend for the team considering their expectations.

The Silver Arrows would have hoped to return to winning ways straight away in 2023 after only winning a single race last season but Hamilton’s radio messages during the Bahrain Grand Prix highlight just how far away the team are from challenging for race wins.

READ: Revealed: Red Bull replaced engine components ahead of 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

“How much were we off the Red Bulls?” Hamilton asked his race engineer Peter Bonnington at the end of the race, to which ‘Bono’ replied: “Just uh… 51 seconds behind.”

This prompted Hamilton to deliver a message to his team over the radio, telling everyone at Mercedes that they have a long journey ahead of them.

“Great work, I know we’re not where we want to be but let’s keep pushing,” he said.

“Serious work to do to close the gap but I believe in you all.”

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In a bid to close the gap to the front runners, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that his team will already be looking to change their approach.

READ: Naomi Schiff admits she’s ‘worried’ about Red Bull

The Silver Arrows decided to stick with their zero sidepod approach this season but after only one race, it is clear that something needs to change if they are to be able to fight Red Bull this year.

Wolff stopped short of confirming that Mercedes will definitely change their sidepods but with Aston Martin outperforming Mercedes with exactly the same engine, it is clear that the design of the W14 needs to change.

These upgrades are not expected to be available to Mercedes until F1 returns to Europe in a couple of months’ time, leaving Hamilton and Russell with the task of staying as close to their rivals as possible until performance upgrades arrive.