Lewis Hamilton and George Russell salvage damage limitation behind the Ferraris for Mercedes at the Bahrain Grand Prix; “To get a third and fourth is pretty remarkable with the troubles that we have,” said Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton hailed Mercedes’ damage limitation at the Bahrain GP as “remarkable” as the under-performing world champions salvaged third and fourth from the season-opener despite their car “troubles”.
Hamilton and new team-mate George Russell were a distant fifth and sixth for the majority of Sunday’s race but a late Safety Car put them back in contention before Red Bull suffered a dramatic late double DNF.
Hamilton pounced after Sergio Perez’s spin to clinch a podium which appeared impossible earlier on, with the seven-time world champion more than half a minute off Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen before the Safety Car.
“For sure I definitely didn’t expect it,” Hamilton admitted to Sky Sports F1. “I woke up this morning hoping, I had a super, super hope that we’d have a chance to fight, that we have a car that is better than we think.
Lewis Hamilton says it was ‘remarkable’ to finish on the podium, given the problems the Mercedes team encountered over the weekend
“But we did struggle in the race. George did a great job and to get a third and fourth is pretty remarkable with the troubles that we have.”
Mercedes have dominated F1 and claimed every constructors’ title and all but one drivers’ crown over the past eight seasons, but are the third-fastest team to start 2022’s new era of cars and rules.
“You can see how you can manage expectations,” said team boss Toto Wolff. “If we would have come in third and fourth last year it would have been very frustrating. But this year I think we are punching above our weight class.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was happy with his drivers’ third and fourth-placed finishes after admitting the team are a long way behind their rivals
“I think third and fourth is a fantastic result.”
He added: “I think at the moment we are five and six, third on the road, and we’re trying to recover ground but it’s not going to come from one day to the other.”
Leclerc and Carlos Sainz clinched a Ferrari one-two in Bahrain, their first since 2019 with the Italian giants looking like genuine title contenders this season.
Carlos Sainz overtakes Max Verstappen as he is forced to retire the race due to technical faults in his car