Mercedes Struggling Early In Bahrain

2023 Bahrain Grand Prix, Friday - George Russell
2023 Bahrain Grand Prix, Friday - George Russell

Mercedes has plenty of work to do after the first Friday of the season in Bahrain, where both drivers ran two sets of Medium tyres in FP1. In the hotter conditions, Lewis finished P10 and George P11, conducting set-up evaluations.

Lewis ended FP2 P8 with George P13. The Team’s long-run performance later in the session was a little more encouraging, but still significantly behind pacesetters Red Bull.

Tonight’s work will focus on set-up improvements to improve single-lap performance while maintaining the relatively stronger long-run pace.

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Lewis Hamilton

‘We’ve got a lot to work on. We knew we were behind some of our competitors at testing and today, we found out that we are a long way off. We’ll keep our heads down tonight, go through the data, and continue to work to find some progress for tomorrow. We’ve got to find out if we can add performance overnight. I think I’ve got the car to the best place I can set-up wise. On long-run pace, we look similar to Ferrari but are behind Red Bull and Aston Martin. It’s difficult for everyone and it’s not where anyone in this team wants to be. Everyone continues to work so hard and is so courageous and thoughtful in the process. We need to continue to graft away and get ourselves back on the right track.’

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George Russell

‘We have a lot of data from today that we can look over tonight. We made some big changes from testing to today, so we need to evaluate whether they have worked as anticipated. We have set the car up in a slightly different window to last week; it feels better but that doesn’t always mean that it’s faster.

‘It looks like our race pace is slightly stronger than our one-lap pace right now. We will continue to look at this as we need to find more lap time. It’s difficult to say exactly where we are in the order, but we want to be higher up the timing sheets than we were today. It’s only our fourth day with the W14, though, so we need to make sure we have it in the right window and are reaching its full potential.’

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Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

‘The first session in the hotter conditions was tricky; we ran the medium tyres and even in the test we were finding that compound difficult to get into a good balance window but today seemed little better. We made some changes going into the afternoon and the cooler conditions seemed to help in terms of the feel and balance, but the pace is still lacking; single lap seems more of an issue than the long run but neither are good enough, so we’ve clearly got some work to do. We’ve got some ideas to evaluate overnight so hopefully we can put together a package of changes that will help.’

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