Lewis Hamilton Warned Mercedes Bahrain GP Strategy Would Fail
Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time F1 champion, was not surprised by Mercedes‘ struggle with tyre degradation during the first race of the 2023 F1 season. He had warned the team about this issue before the race even began.
Unfortunately, Hamilton had a tough start to the season, finishing in fifth place, which was his worst start since 2014. Although Charles Leclerc’s retirement in the Ferrari SF-23 presented a podium opportunity, Hamilton was unable to overtake Carlos Sainz and lost out to Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin.
The Brackley-based squad struggled with race pace, especially in the rear tyre area, in which Red Bull and Aston Martin seemed to excel. Hamilton had concerns about Mercedes’ tyre life strategy due to their degradation issues.
Speaking to the media, Hamilton stated that they had a lot of work to do and needed to add downforce to the car since they were lacking in that area. This would help them pick up pace by putting more load on the rear and the front. Hamilton explained that a podium finish was nowhere near, and they were miles away since there was a Ferrari that would’ve been ahead of Alonso. He explained:
“It generally felt the same as last year. When we did the strategy in the morning I told the guys it wasn’t going to go as far as they said it was going to go, and it didn’t.
“We have just got a lot of work to do. We have just got to add downforce to the car, we’re lacking a lot of downforce. That is 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.
“We were miles away. There was a Ferrari that would’ve been ahead of him [Alonso], so we would’ve really been sixth. So a podium was nowhere near.”
Hamilton also referred to Aston Martin, who have a Mercedes engine, saying they had work to do since half of their car is theirs.
“We’ve got work to do, because half of their car [Aston Martin] is ours, and they built their car in our wind tunnel, they do their aero in our wind tunnel, so we’ve got some work to do. Concerned wouldn’t be the word. There is nothing I can say, I don’t want to say too much. We’ve just got to keep working.
“We know we are not where we need to be, and we know that this isn’t the right car. It is a difficult one.
“But I’ve just got to try and stay positive, keep my head up and keep pushing the guys. Keep trying to be a positive light for them and get the best points I can.”