Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes are behind at least 3 other F1 teams – Autoblog -Dlight News

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes are behind at least 3 other F1 teams - Autoblog

Lewis Hamilton said on Thursday that his Mercedes team is so far off the pace at the start of the Formula One season that the seven-time champion needs three teams to drop out of the race to have a chance of winning. Red Bull dominated the season-opener two weeks ago in Bahrain, finishing 1-2 against two-time defending world champions Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Fernando Alonso finished a surprising third for Aston Martin and Carlos Sainz Jr for Ferrari fourth. Hamilton was some 51 seconds behind Verstappen in fifth, while teammate George Russell was 56 seconds behind in seventh. Both finishes would have been worse had Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc not had an engine failure near the end of the race. “We are not fighting for (the title). We need the Red Bulls not to finish the race, and the Ferraris not to finish the race and maybe now the Astons not to finish the race, at the moment we’re winning,” Hamilton said ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. “None of us in this team have ever been challenged. Didn’t have to stay away. We’d prefer to be at the front, but it’s not like this.” Hamilton is tied with Michael Schumacher for the F1 record seven titles and is F1’s winningest driver with 103 wins and 103 poles. He won the race last year for the first time in his F1 career, which began in 2007. He fears that Red Bull were not at their best in Bahrain either. “I think in the race they weren’t pushing and I think they were a lot faster than they looked. We had Second and a half are as fast. in the race per lap,” Hamilton said. But I have 100% faith in everyone. You don’t suddenly lose the ability to make great cars, it’s just that we’re nowhere near where we should be and where we want to be.” Hamilton criticized Mercedes after the opening race and told a BBC podcast that Mercedes had not listened to him about the development of this year’s car. “I’ve driven a lot of cars in my life. I know what a car needs. I know what a car doesn’t need. I think it’s really about responsibility,” Hamilton told Radio 5 Live’s Checkered Flag podcast. said 5 Live’s Checkered Flag podcast. “It’s about ownership and saying, ‘Yeah, you know what? We didn’t listen to you. It’s not where it needs to be and we have to work.'” Hamilton was asked about those comments again Thursday, and said That he was unruffled by his criticism. “In hindsight it wasn’t necessarily the best choice of words,” said the 38-year-old British driver. “Of course there are times when you don’t agree with certain team members, but what’s important is We continue to communicate, we continue to pull together.” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitted in Bahrain that Mercedes had made mistakes in car development after Russell won his only race last year. Mercedes struggled with ground effect known as “porpoising”. and Russell was fourth in the 2022 standings, with Hamilton sixth. The 2023 W14 car has very narrow bodywork, known as the “zero-sidepod” concept in F1, but there was no optimism. Long runs and Russell said after Bahrain Was that Red Bull everyone this season will win the race. Hamilton believes he is right about the car’s limitations based on what he saw in pre-season testing. He noted that Mercedes’ return to the black car saw flaws in the unveiling. “I knew we weren’t in the right place. When you first saw the car, it looked very different from our competitors. It’s always nerve-wracking in that moment. ,” he said. “It looked great, obviously the color looks great, but I don’t care what color it is as long as it’s fast. We hope at some stage it will be molded into a winning car. Hamilton to Mercedes – including himself – urged to move on. “We all need a kick, we all need to move on. The proof is in the pudding, we’ve seen where the performances are and how people are taking out the performances. We now have to make some bold decisions. Have to start, some big steps have to be taken to close the gap for these guys (Red Bull),” he said. “They will probably run away with it this year, unless Ferrari can stop them. At some point during the year we hope we can close the gap, but by then it will probably be too late in terms of fighting for the championship. Hamilton said he is still determined to negotiate a new contract and is firm in his belief that he can win again. “I’ve been here a long time and I don’t plan to go anywhere else,” he said. “I’ll win again, it’s (just) a matter of time.” Will take.” ___ More AP Auto Racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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