Lewis Hamilton managed to progress to Q3 in the Bahrain GP qualifying session and secured seventh place on the starting grid, one place behind his Mercedes teammate, George Russell. Although this is lower than usual for the seven-time world champion, he believes that the team made “some great work overnight, and the car felt much, much better.” Hamilton admitted that the Mercedes W14 is still lacking rear-end stability, but this issue has improved as the race weekend has progressed.
Mercedes played around with two rear wing setups during the weekend, with Hamilton trying out the new lower drag version, which suited the Sakhir track better than the one used during testing last week. However, when asked about his confidence in the new setup, Hamilton said: “Who knows? It was pretty much the same. We did the same times on both the wings.”
Last year, the W13 showed strong race day performances, even at tracks where the team had struggled over one lap. However, the W14’s degradation issues mean that the team’s form on Sundays is still unclear. “We don’t know if we have the pace that we had in long runs last year,” Hamilton admitted. “So tomorrow will be telling. But I’m hoping we can fight amongst the group that we’re with, and it’s really going to be just how your long runs are.”
Hamilton acknowledged that Aston Martin, a Mercedes customer team, has a quicker car currently. Although it is not great for the Silver Arrows, Hamilton is “genuinely happy” for Aston Martin and “it’s good to have Fernando [Alonso] back in the mix. So hopefully, we get some good races.”