Mercedes not in a position to compete for F1 wins - Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has admitted Mercedes is currently not in a position to compete for wins at the start of the 2022 Formula 1 season but remains confident his team can overcome the troubles it is facing. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W13.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W13.

The seven-time world champion conceded at the end of the second day of pre-season testing in Bahrain that Mercedes was struggling to “tame” its new F1 car and labelled Ferrari as being the early favourites heading into the new campaign. 

Mercedes has enjoyed a strong two weeks of testing in terms of reliability and mileage, but the team has been struggling with balance and porpoising issues with its new W13 challenger and is yet to feature near the top of the times in Bahrain. 

While Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz believes Mercedes is hiding its true performance, Hamilton once again reiterated that the reigning world champions’ struggles are genuine. 

Asked if he has concerns about whether he will be able to fight for this year’s world title, Hamilton said: “Obviously, it’s a little bit too early to get into that, or have those kind of thoughts, but at the moment I don’t think we’ll be competing for wins. 

"But there is potential within our car to get us there, we’ve just got to learn to extract it and fix some of the problems. 

“That’s what we are working on and everyone is doing an incredible job back at the factory working as hard as they can, but we have some hurdles to overcome. 

“Obviously, next week we’ll get a much better showing of our pace but I think people will be surprised maybe. 

“People keep saying that we keep talking ourselves down but it’s a bit different this year.”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W13.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W13.

Hamilton underlined that he thinks Ferrari and Red Bull appear to be in the best shape heading into next weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.

“I’m sure everyone can figure it out, we’re not the quickest at the moment," he added. 

“Ferrari looks to be the quickest and perhaps Red Bull, and then maybe us or McLaren. I don’t know, but we’re certainly not at the top.” 

Comparisons have been made to the difficulties Mercedes faced in last year’s pre-season test in Bahrain and how it was able to bounce back quickly once the season started, but Hamilton stressed that the situation is different this time around. 

“It feels a lot different,” he explained. “It’s not as good, I don’t think it’s going to look as it did last year with the difficult session we had in practice and then switch over into the race. 

"I think we have far bigger challenges this time and there not one-week turnarounds, they’ll take a little bit longer. 

“But from what I told, we have a considerable amount of pace to find.” 

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