Hamilton: Mercedes not in hunt for F1 wins right now

Lewis Hamilton believes that Mercedes is not currently in a position to fight for Formula 1 race wins in the wake of its ongoing test struggles.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Mercedes has endured a tricky time in Bahrain this week, with its W13 suffering from porpoising and proving to be a handful for both Hamilton and team-mate George Russell.

With the German manufacturer yet to find an answer for its woes with just one week to go before the opening race of the season at the Sakhir Circuit, Hamilton is downbeat about the team’s immediate prospects.

Speaking on Saturday about if the situation had already prompted some concerns about him not being in a position to fight for the championship, Hamilton said: “Obviously it's a little bit too early to have those kind of thoughts. But at the moment, I don't think we'll be competing for wins.

“But there is a potential within our car to get us there. We have just got to be able to extract it and fix some of the problems, which is what we're working on.”

While Mercedes’ Bahrain struggles appear to be similar to the difficulties it faced in the test 12 months ago, before turning things around to win the first race, Hamilton says the situation is far from being a repeat scenario.

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He suggests that the fixes Mercedes need to make to get on top of its car will require more than just set-up tweaks.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

“There's a lot different,” he said “It's not as good... I don't think we're going to make it look as good as we did last year with a difficult session we had in practice and then switch over to the race.

“I think we have far bigger challenges this time, and they are not one week turnarounds.

“I think they will take a little bit longer. But from what I'm told we have a considerable amount of pace to find.”

But although downbeat about Mercedes’ initial competitiveness, Hamilton has not lost faith that his team can unlock an answer longer term.

“Everyone's doing such an incredible job back at the factory, working as hard as they can,” he said.

“But we have some hurdles to overcome.

“Obviously next week, we'll get a much better showing of our pace. But I think people will be surprised maybe.

“People keep talking about us talking ourselves down, but it's a bit different this year.”

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