Hamilton opens up on plans to remain in F1 ahead of new season
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Lewis Hamilton will be “happy” to be anywhere near the podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix as Mercedes continue to play “catch-up” with their new W14, according to Ted Kravitz. The Sky Sports F1 pundit has claimed Mercedes’ new package “isn’t quick enough” and hinted it could take half a dozen races for them to get near the front.
The Silver Arrows struggled in Sakhir’s pre-season test and are unlikely to challenge the frontrunners in the first race.
Kravitz said: “Lewis Hamilton loves it around Bahrain. He has a great record there.
“But really he’s playing catch up. His Mercedes isn’t quick enough at the moment. Race six before they get a car they can actually do things and win races. He’s definitely going to be playing catch up. He’ll be happy if he gets anywhere near the podium.”
Mercedes’ pre-season running came to a near halt on day two after problems hindered the German manufacturer. Hamilton was forced onto the pots to repair a damaged floor on Friday morning with George Russell suffering mechanical issues in the afternoon.
The eight-time Constructors’ Championship winners confirmed the issue was a hydraulics fault with Russell looking deep in thought after getting out of the stricken machine.
The issues were enough for engineers to hold an unplanned meeting to discuss a way forward on Friday evening. Ahead of testing, there was optimism Mercedes could challenge at the front after solving their dreaded porpoising issues from last season.
However, the team has already dampened expectations before the first Grand Prix of the season roars into life. Russell admitted they were now looking at car developments with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola the most likely destination.
However, this is six races into the season meaning the team could struggle to challenge for almost a quarter of the calendar.
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He explained: “I think when you look at the calendar as a whole you’ve got five races in the first two and a half, three months.
“Whereas at the end of the season, you’ve probably got 10 or 11 in the same time span. This season’s going to be won or lost in the midway to the end of the season, it’s not going to be won or lost in the first five races.
“As much as we want to go out there and win next weekend in Bahrain and we are going to give it everything to achieve that. We know it’s more important we have the right car in the right window from race six onwards because that’s where the big points will be won.”
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