Mercedes have faced a disappointing start to the 2023 Formula One season, finishing behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin in the opening race in Bahrain. Despite hoping to recover some performance over the winter, Mercedes have found themselves struggling to compete with their rivals. Following the race, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton gave an honest assessment of where the team currently stands in the pecking order.
Hamilton began by discussing his race start, which he described as “one of my better opening laps.” However, he quickly turned his attention to the performance of the Mercedes team, stating “We definitely can’t fight [Ferrari] at the moment – they were much quicker than us, as were the Astons.” This admission is a stark contrast to previous seasons, where Mercedes have been the dominant force in the sport.
Hamilton went on to describe the team’s current position, stating “We’re the fourth fastest team now, as opposed to the third last year. We’re going backwards.” This statement highlights the decline in performance that Mercedes has experienced over the past year, with their position in the pecking order slipping behind their competitors.
Reflecting on his battle with Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz, Hamilton praised the performance of the Aston Martin team, stating “Big congratulations to Fernando and the whole Aston Martin team too. They did a great job today. It was a fun tussle we had for a moment, but he was too quick.” Hamilton also acknowledged Sainz’s strong performance, admitting that “It was close for a second with Sainz, but I couldn’t hang on and he just went away in the final laps.”
Hamilton concluded by identifying the areas where Mercedes needs to improve, stating “We are lacking a lot of downforce, and we’ve got a lot of work to do to add more to the car. As soon as we put more load on the front and rear, we will be able to pick up our pace.” This admission suggests that Mercedes is aware of the issues it is facing and is working to address them.
While Mercedes has been the dominant force in Formula One for the past few years, their struggles in Bahrain suggest that they are facing a significant challenge from their rivals this season. Hamilton’s candid assessment of the team’s performance provides insight into the issues they are facing and the work that needs to be done to address them. As the season progresses, it will be interesting to see if Mercedes can bounce back and reassert their dominance in the sport.