Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes won’t be able to compete for victory at Formula 1’s season-opening Bahrain GP, after a difficult pre-season test.
Despite catching people’s attention with their, lack of, sidepods on the first day of the Bahrain test, Mercedes haven’t been able to convert their innovation into strong pace as Red Bull and Ferrari impressed in Sakhir.
“At the moment I don’t think we’ll be competing for wins but there is potential within our car to get us there,” Hamilton told the press.
“We’ve just got to learn to be able to extract it and fix some of the problems, which is what we’re working on. Everyone’s doing such an incredible job back at the factory, working as hard as they can, but we have some hurdles to overcome.
The defending Constructors Champions have a history of not showing their hand in testing, but their lack of pace to Red Bull and Ferrari seems genuine this time around.
Hamilton, who is looking to break Michael Schumacher’s record of seven World Championships, admits this year is different to previous seasons.
“Obviously next week we’ll get a much better showing of our pace,” continued Hamilton. “But I think people will be surprised.
“Or at least the people who keep talking about we’re talking ourselves down. It’s a bit different this year.”
Porpoising problems at Mercedes
Mercedes have had major issues with porpoising, which is when the car bounces around at high speed due to ground effect.
At high speed, Hamilton and teammate George Russell have visibly been thrown around more than other drivers which Hamilton thinks will take time to resolve.
“At the moment, it [porpoising] is one of our weak points,” added Hamilton. “Others are also experiencing it and, of course, it’s not something that is exactly great.
“It’s definitely a hurdle right now, but I hope that somehow we’ll be able to fix these things so that we can harness the true potential of these new cars.”