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Hamilton: Ferrari has significant F1 top speed advantage in Bahrain

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes believe Ferrari's blistering Formula 1 form so far at the Bahrain Grand Prix is the result of a "significant" straightline speed advantage

Charles Leclerc claimed his maiden F1 pole position by three tenths in qualifying and, although Hamilton was just 0.030 seconds off Sebastian Vettel's second place, he admitted he had no chance of getting close to Leclerc's pole time.

Reflecting on why Ferrari has been in a class of its own this weekend, Hamilton said the majority of its advantage is explained by how fast the team is on the straights.

"We have seen incredible pace from the Ferraris," said Hamilton.

"Honestly, I didn't know we would be as close as we were at the end.

"They were pulling some serious speed on the straights which is where we have generally lost a lot of time, just the straightline.

"Somehow they have managed to find a lot more speed on the straights.

"For us the car has felt OK, I just think over the years it has not been a circuit that particularly suited our car for whatever reason, but we got into quite a nice place today and end of straight speeds was really where we lost a lot of time.

"Sector one we were losing three tenths or two tenths just on straightline speed, so that is a significant amount."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said his team needed to get to the bottom of why it was on the back foot on the straights.

"On long runs we were doing OK, that looked good," he told Sky.

"But we are lacking in straightline speed at the moment, whether that is track or power, we need to analyse.

"And obviously it's not great for the race either, overtaking will be an option tomorrow, but you need to have a fast car on the straights."

Asked if he suspected it was outright power or car drag, Wolff said: "It's a combination of the two.

"That post-mortem started mid-qualifying when we realised that we're lacking the speed, and we'll take the analysis from there."

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