Hamilton urges Mercedes to fix downforce issue after coming fifth
Lewis Hamilton urges Mercedes to fix his downforce problem ‘ASAP’ after finishing a huge 51 seconds behind Max Verstappen at the Bahrain Grand Prix, as he concedes ‘the car is just not there at the moment’
- Lewis Hamilton has criticised his car after a disappointing start to the F1 season
- He finished fifth in Bahrain, 51 seconds behind race winner Max Verstappen
- The 38-year-old called for Mercedes to fix his downforce problem ‘ASAP’
Lewis Hamilton claimed his car ‘just isn’t there at the moment’ after finishing fifth in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
The seven-time world champion finished 51 seconds behind Max Verstappen, who won the race to give the reigning champion an ominous start to the 2023 season.
Sergio Perez finished second in a dominant one-two for Red Bull, while the next quickest driver, Fernando Alonso racing with Aston Martin for the first time, was 38 seconds back in third.
Hamilton was clearly not happy with his car after the result. When asked if fifth was the best finish he could have hoped for, the 38-year-old said: ‘Yeah definitely, I gave it absolutely everything.
‘I am generally happy with the race, it was much better with the qualifying and I am happy with my performance.’
Lewis Hamilton has criticised his car after a disappointing start to the F1 season
He finished fifth in Bahrain, 51 seconds behind race winner Max Vertappen
‘There’s not much more I could have done. Set the car up differently maybe? But overall just lacking performance.’
He felt there downforce issue in Bahrain, as he continued: ‘The team did a great job with the pit stops, just unfortunately, the car is just not there at the moment, we are lacking downforce and we have just got to work really hard to try and add that ASAP.
‘Anything that is in the wind tunnel, we need it tomorrow. We need to push massively to close that gap.
‘The Red Bull pace was huge, it must have been a second a lap, but those around us I think we can catch at some stage.’
Hamilton also touched on enjoying his battle with Alonso, as he added: ‘Ultimately, as a driver, you hope that you are always going forwards or at least in a tussle. ‘The start was great, gained a couple of places. Then we had that battle, I was close to the Ferrari at one stage.’
For Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, the loss was a worrying start to the season.
Hamilton spoke of a downforce issue and added ‘the car just isn’t there at the moment’
Toto Wolff called the Bahrain Grand Prix ‘one of the worst days in racing’ for Mercedes
‘It was one of the worst days in racing,’ he admitted. ‘It is really not good at all and we are lacking pace left, right and centre.
‘Red Bull are just on a different planet. That is what hurts because they are so far ahead. It reminds me of our best years where we just put a second on everyone else. That is the benchmark and we need to come back and we can absolutely do that.’
Sunday’s result means Christian Horner’s team already have a 20-point lead in the constructor’s championship.
The next Grand Prix will take place in Saudi Arabia on March 19.
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