Mercedes Find The Going Tough In Bahrain Grand Prix

By Robert Haile

The wait has been worth it with wheel to wheel action around the Bahrain International Circuit.

After qualifying in sixth and seventh Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell then found the race difficult.

The team ran the same strategy starting on soft tyres then went with two pit stops swapping to hard tyres at each one.

The drivers got off to different starts with Hamilton gaining two places from seventh and ran most of the race in fifth.

He was promoted to fourth when Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari stopped on track but Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso managed to overtake on his way to third.

Seven time world champion Hamilton said: “We did the best we could today. We are the fourth fastest team right now, and the Ferrari and Aston that we were battling were just quicker than us. It was close for a second with Sainz, but I couldn’t hang on and he just went away in the final laps.

“Big congratulations to Fernando and the whole Aston Martin team too. They did a great job today. It was a fun tussle we had for a moment, but he was too quick. We are lacking a lot of downforce, and we’ve got a lot of work to do to add more to the car.

“As soon as we put more load on the front and rear, we will be able to pick up our pace. We’ve just got to keep working; we know we are not where we need to be. I’ve got to stay positive, keep my head up and keep pushing the Team. I will be a positive light for them and get the best points I can.”

After qualifying in sixth Russell dropped to eighth with a slow pit stop giving Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll the chance to overtake.

The pair were close together for the rest of the race as Russell could not close the gap enough to pass.

After the race Russell said: “We are lacking performance and we are a long behind where we want to be. Aston Martin are the surprise package this year and our deficit to Red Bull and those ahead is too big.

“The positive we can take away is that there is no fundamental problem with the car, other than it is lacking downforce. As silly as it sounds, that is one of the easiest problems to solve compared to what we had to do last year.

“We are all here to win. If we must sacrifice some races or part of this season to give ourselves a chance to fight in the second half of the season, or even next year, that is what we are going to have to do. We know the Team is good at developing and finding performance, but we are a long way behind where we want to be.

“We need to find some performance quickly. Bahrain is an outlier circuit, but performance isn’t going to swing more than three tenths positively or negatively from track to track.”

The team picked up 16 points to sit third in the Constructors Championship behind Aston Martin and Red Bull.

Mercedes will be looking to make improvements as Formula One heads to Saudi Arabia on March 17-19.