Broken seat, 1% battery, lift and coast… Mercedes’ Bahrain gremlins assessed

Mercedes 'still have to work at this concept' after Lewis Hamilton and George Russell struggles in Bahrain

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 on the grid. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir,
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 on the grid. Formula 1 World…

Mercedes experienced teething problems with their W15 during the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton reported engine issues as he finished seventh, and George Russell insisted his battery wasn’t working properly as he finished fifth.

Both drivers were forced to lift and coast, too.

The feedback was a sobering reminder that Mercedes are in the early days of their new car concept, while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen continues to dominate by winning in Bahrain.

Naomi Schiff said on Sky Sports about Hamilton: “He even mentioned that his seat was broken.

“There was a lot that they were dealing with.

“They seemed optimistic, at least Lewis did.

“This is now the bitter reality. We’ve seen the car’s performance in qualifying and seen the performance in the race.

“While I think they have made a step forward, because the drivers have told us that the grip is tighter, but if you look at the performance of the Red Bulls, [Mercedes] are still quite a while away.

“It means they will still have to work at this concept.

“They’ve only had this concept for a couple of weeks on track while some teams in this paddock have had this concept for two years.

“They are still in the learning phase of how to really lock in the performance.”

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 - flyover. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir,
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 - flyover. Formula 1 World…

Russell gave up a crucial position to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc after locking up.

“He was making good progress and I wondered how well he could do,” Damon Hill reacted.

“They faded away. As Toto said, it sounds like they got the cooling wrong and had lots of issues.

“They have still got lots of learnings about this car, and getting it right.

“For a car to have a cooling problem on a freezing cold night…

“It looks like they got this part of the equation wrong. But they are still learning.”

Red Bull finished 1-2 with Verstappen and Sergio Perez, followed by the Ferrari duo of Carlos Sainz and Leclerc.

The McLarens, like the Mercedes, struggled with minor issues at various parts of the Bahrain weekend.

Finding the answers to those problems will create the closer fight against the Red Bulls that preseason testing hinting at, Schiff said.

“Some of them have gremlins,” she said about the chasing pack.

“Lando Norris was telling us how much they were dealing with, partly because of the deg, and the wind.

“Yesterday we had lots of wind, today a lot less. You’d think that makes it easier but they had got used, on certain corners, to driving a certain way.

“There were a lot of factors that maybe meant things weren’t as tight as we’d like to see, like the issues that Mercedes were having and the issues that Charles had.

“If they get rid of those things, there could be a tighter battle behind Verstappen.”

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