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Hamilton: Mercedes "not yet where we want to be" with F1 car after Bahrain test

Lewis Hamilton has conceded Mercedes is "not yet where we want to be", despite what has been an overall encouraging Formula 1 test in Bahrain.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W15

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The German manufacturer has revamped its car for this year in a bid to dial out the obvious weakness that plagued Hamilton and team-mate George Russell throughout 2023.

Although early running of the W15 appears to indicate that the Mercedes 2024 challenger has dialled out many of its vices – including the ‘spiteful’ rear end – Hamilton has suggested that pace-wise it has not yet hit its target.

“We know we’ve got work to do and we’re not yet where we want to be,” said Hamilton. “We knew that would be the case coming into the test though.

“We’ve got a great platform to build on. We’ll go away and work hard over the next couple of days to go through all the data from the test. I’m really excited for the start of the season next week and we’ll be heading into it in good shape.”

Russell said Mercedes was in no doubt that world champion Red Bull remained out in front based on the impressive pace of the RB20, but felt his own outfit was in a much better place than it was 12 months ago.

“The car has been handling well and correlates to the feeling we had on the simulator ahead of coming here,” he said. “We’ve got a very good base to build from.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

“We’re aware that there’s a lot more lap time to find. We knew that would be the case ahead of the test, and Red Bull are looking very strong once again.

“Nevertheless, I’m confident that we’re in a much better place than we were 12 months ago. The team at Brackley and Brixworth have done a great job to get us into this position and with a car that is a step in the right direction.

“We now need to focus on firstly getting the most out of the package we have, and secondly adding more downforce and trying to close that gap.”

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Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said the early indications from the test pointed to the W15 being much improved in the key areas the team had hoped to sort.

“The team has worked hard to iron out the handling flaws that were integral to the W14, and it's great that we seem to have put a number of those problems behind us,” he said.

“Over the course of the test we've made good steps on our understanding of the car. The task of the next few days is to pick through the results and put together the best package to take into the race weekend.

“It's never easy to make predictions on pace from testing, as all teams are quite effective at hiding their pace when they want to. It's clear that we are in a much better position than 12 months ago though.”

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