Lewis Hamilton was looking to finish fifth in the Bahrain Grand Prix – until the Red Bulls suffered problems which saw them retire with less than five laps to go, promoting Hamilton to what was an unlikely 183rd podium in career.
Hamilton made no secret of Mercedes’ struggles ahead of the race, saying he expected Ferrari and Red Bull to pull away on Sunday night.
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And while Hamilton’s prognosis turned out to be largely true – Sergio Perez only made short work of overtaking the Mercedes early on as the Silver Arrows struggled to keep up with their red and blue rivals – Hamilton used a late Safety Car and Red Bull double retirement to his advantage to take P3, behind the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, and a place ahead of new team-mate George Russell.
“Oh, of course, we wouldn’t have expected [to get a podium]”Hamilton said. “I woke up this morning hoping, great, great hoping that we would have a fighting chance, that we would have a better car than we thought. But we struggled in the race.
“But George did a great job of putting us third and fourth [which] I think that’s pretty remarkable considering the issues we have.
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The record books will show Hamilton finished within 10 seconds of race winner Leclerc. their problems – the 103-time poleman having qualified almost seven tenths behind Leclerc on Saturday in P5.
“The problem is that with our car we have a car that bounces a lot everywhere, Hamilton said. and all corners at medium speed.” corners.
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“The only place that’s usually good enough is, relatively, up high [speed corners] and then we are very slow in a straight line, so I don’t know if it’s drag or if it’s power, we haven’t figured that out yet.
“The others we can’t keep up with, even with DRS. We have a lot of work, and that means you’re sliding a lot at the rear, and the tires are getting hotter and hotter and they’re degrading. so is where we have a lot of [performance] to try to catch up.
Hamilton will have the opportunity to see how the W13 performs on Jeddah’s hilly Corniche circuit next weekend as Formula 1 heads to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
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