Mercedes ‘isn’t the right car’ – Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton has expressed concern the W14 developed by Mercedes this year simply “isn’t the right car”.
The comments follow Mercedes’ latest below-par start to a season as seven-time F1 champion Hamilton finished a staggering 51 seconds behind race-winning Red Bull driver Max Verstappen at the end of last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Fifth-placed Hamilton even declared Mercedes “miles away” from Aston Martin as Fernando Alonso was third on his debut with his new team.
In addition, Hamilton stated in a post-race interview on BBC Radio 5 Live that Mercedes did not listen to his input last year with regard to the W13, and “the issues that are with the car”.
He added: “I’ve driven so many cars in my life, so I know what a car needs, I know what a car doesn’t need. And I think it’s really about accountability.
“It’s about owning up and saying ‘Yeah, you know what? We didn’t listen to you. It’s not where it used to be and we’ve got to work.'”
Mercedes lacking all-over downforce
On the evidence of the race in Bahrain, Mercedes has a considerable amount of work to do to claw its way back to the front alongside not just Red Bull, but also Ferrari and Aston Martin.
There is also the question of whether it can keep Hamilton happy to ensure he signs a new contract beyond this season.
Describing the W14’s long-run pace as “generally the same as last year”, Hamilton added: “When we did the strategy (briefing) in the morning, I told the guys it wasn’t going to go as far as they said it was going go and it didn’t.”
As to what is required, he said: “We’ve just got a lot of work to do. We’ve just got to add downforce to the car. We are just lacking a lot of downforce.
“That’s really where the time will come. As soon as we put more load on the rear and the front, we’ll pick up that pace.”
Asked of Hamilton whether he was concerned not enough steps have been made over the winter, he replied: “Concern wouldn’t be the worst.
“There’s nothing I can say that…I don’t want to say too much. We have just got to keep working.
“We know we’re not where we need to be, and we know that this isn’t the right car.
“It’s a difficult one but I have just got to try and stay positive, keep my head up, keep pushing the guys and keep trying to be a positive light for them, and get the best points I can at the weekend.”
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