Hamilton highlights Mercedes weaknesses

Lewis Hamilton has explained where his Mercedes W14 is lacking

Lewis Hamilton has explained where his Mercedes W14 is missing performance

Lewis Hamilton has highlighted where he feels his Mercedes is losing out versus F1 class leaders Red Bull.

Hamilton finished fifth behind both Red Bulls, Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin, and Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari in Bahrain two weeks ago.

It was a weekend that showed the team to be further from the front than it had hoped and prompted team boss Toto Wolff to question the very concept of the W14 – a point he was loathed to do last year.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Hamilton continued to paint a bleak picture.

“Once I drove the car for the first time, you kind of already start to do that as you learn more about the car and you understand what the challenges are going to be,” he said when asked if he’s had to reassess his objectives for the year ahead after Bahrain.

“We were in a similar [position], mentality-wise, as we were last year where we’re just really working as hard as we can, staying one as a team, trying to remain positive.”

The problem this year, however, is different and the W14 does have strengths its predecessor didn’t.

Even still, the Brackley squad has lost ground to its Milton Keynes rivals.

“It’s not on the straights,” Hamilton offered as to where his car’s weaknesses are.

“I think last year we were very draggy and we were struggling, not only on the straights [but] we had to take a much bigger wing – but we were equalling if not losing in the corners as well.

“This year, it’s mostly through the corners,” he added.

“I think down the straights we’re quick, but [corner] exits, [Red Bull] have a lot of rear-end through the majority of the corners.

“I think in the race [in Bahrain] they weren’t pushing and so I think they’re a lot quicker than they even seemed.

“We have it as them a second and a half fastest in the race per lap, or something like that.”

Hamilton admitted the lack of performance in Bahrain came as a shock.

While the team was not expecting to set the world alight at the opening round, it had hoped to be able to make up ground over the season to the point where it would be a contender later on.

Based on the Bahrain Grand Prix, that challenge is far more significant than first anticipated.

“We need the Red Bulls not to finish the race, and the Ferraris not to finish the race, and maybe now the Aston Martins not to finish the race for us to be winning at the moment,” he observed.

“But that doesn’t mean we can’t catch them up.

“None of us at this team have ever shied away from a challenge. We enjoy the challenge.

“We would much prefer to be at the front but it isn’t the way it is.”

Opening practice in Saudi Arabia begins at 16:30 local time on Friday (00:30 AEDT Saturday).

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