Lewis Hamilton has said issues with the Mercedes seen during Free Practice this weekend are real and that there is “no short-term fix” as his hopes for glory at the Bahrain circuit dwindle.
Speaking after FP1 and FP2, team-mate George Russell says only hope this weekend could be simple “damage limitation” for himself and Hamilton at this weekend’s season-opening Grand Prix.
Issues began to be seen at pre-season testing, and after two hours of running on Friday, Mercedes remained far off their 2021 rivals, Red Bull, and their potential new rivals this season, Ferrari.
The first Qualifying of the season kicks off in a matter of hours and after finishing in ninth during FP2, Hamilton wasn’t sounding too hopeful speaking with reporters on location.
He continues to insist that this year is a different situation to previous years, where they may have seemed off the pace, and then arrived swinging when it mattered.
“We’ve had small problems in the past, relatively compared to this year, we’ve had much smaller problems,” Hamilton said.
“We’re faced with much bigger problems this year. Everything we do to try to fix it doesn’t really change that, so it appears that it’s probably going to be a more longer-term fix, so nothing in the short term.
“You look at the Red Bulls, they’re a long, long way ahead. It’s in the region of eight to nine tenths ahead of us, and Ferrari is probably something like half-a-second.
“So we’re fighting and scrapping with whoever’s behind them. My mindset is still just trying to be the best I can be, just getting the most out of the car,” he continued.
“As you can see we’re a long way off, we’re not bluffing, like people assumed we were. It is what it is, we’ll work as hard as we can through it and do what we can.”