Hamilton upbeat despite Mercedes suffering 'one of the worst days in racing'

Sir Lewis Hamilton took some positives from the Bahrain Grand Prix but his Mercedes boss Toto Wolff did not, calling it ‘one of the worst days in racing’.

Hamilton finished fifth in Sakhir, with teammate George Russell seventh, some 50 seconds behind race winner Max Verstappen who led home a dominant Red Bull 1-2.

Following pre-season testing, it was expected that Red Bull would be the frontrunners this year with Mercedes set to battle it out with Ferrari and Aston Martin for best of the rest and so it proved to be in the opening race of 2023.

Nevertheless, Hamilton was upbeat post-race, appearing confident that the W14 car could catch their rivals having already made decent progress since testing.

‘I gave it absolutely everything. I am generally happy with the race. It was much better than Qualifying and I am generally happy in terms of my performance,’ the seven-time world champion told Sky Sports.

‘I thought the team did a great job in terms of pit stops and just unfortunately the car is not there at the moment. We are just lacking downforce and we have got to work really hard to add that ASAP.

‘Anything from in the wind tunnel, we need it tomorrow. We have really got to push massively to try and close that gap. Overall, it is just lacking performance so we have got to keep working on it.

‘The Red Bull pace today was obviously huge, must have been at least a second a lap. But those around us, I think we could catch at some stage.’

But his team principal Wolff did not share this optimism, echoing Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc by saying that: ‘Red Bull is just on a different planet.

‘One of the worst days in racing. Really not good at all, we were just lacking pace front, right, and centre.

‘That is what hurts because they [Red Bull] are so far ahead, it reminds me of our best years because we just put a second on everybody else.

‘That is the benchmark and we have to do one step after the other to come back and we can do that.’

After a disastrous 2022, where they won just one race all season, Mercedes were hoping to be back in contention for wins from the off in 2023 but with their rivals all taking a bigger step forward this could be another very frustrating campaign for the Silver Arrows.

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