Lewis Hamilton: “We are either where we were last year, if not a little bit further behind”

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Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton sees a difficult start to the season incoming for Mercedes this weekend at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

F1’s most successful ever driver could only manage P8 in second practice, over 0.6s off the pace of former teammate Fernando Alonso. Teammate George Russell could only manage P13.

Photo: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

“We found out we’re a long way off,” Hamilton said. “We kind of new that a little bit in the test, but it is a big gap.

“I am trying everything I can out there but it is what it is. We have just got to try and work at it.”

Hamilton did not feel there was any particular strength in terms of comfortableness when asked to compare the performance of the car between short and long runs.

“I honestly think they are very, very similar. We’re offset in lower and higher,” he stated.

“To Red Bull – looking at the long runs – they were a second a lap faster. We have got a lot to work on.

“I thought the Ferraris were second, but I think on the long run we’re quite close to the Ferrari.

“It looks like the Aston was second, and we’re kind of between 3rd and fourth. We are either where we were last year, if not a little bit further behind.”

If Mercedes’ lack of pace continues into the weekend, they are set for a tough battle to get back to the front this year.

The 38-year-old says hard work is required to catch the likes of Red Bull up.

“We are just on the wrong track. We’ve got to continue to graft away and find a way to get ourselves on the right track.

“Right now we are a long way off the guys in front. There was good progress last year, but the gap wasn’t as big as it is now.”