Hamilton admits Red Bull, Ferrari in ‘another league’

Jamie Woodhouse
Charles Leclerc follows Lewis Hamilton. Bahrain, March 2022.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, follows Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes. Bahrain, March 2022.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has insisted his fight in the Bahrain Grand Prix will not be with Red Bull or Ferrari.

The eight-time Constructors’ champions had a brief glimmer of hope after FP3 as Hamilton and his team-mate George Russell cut the gap to the leading pace, Russell within four tenths of Max Verstappen at the top – but that proved to be a false dawn.

Come qualifying it was clear Mercedes would not be a contender for pole position in Bahrain, with Hamilton managing only P5 on the grid for the first race of the season.

Russell got the first corner all wrong on his last flying lap, which means he will start from P9.

But for Hamilton, despite going into the season with aspirations of an eighth Drivers’ title, he is nonetheless happy to be starting P5 for Sunday’s race.

“I’m generally really happy with today,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.

“I think given where we have been the last few weeks, the struggles we’ve had, the problems we’ve had with the car…it’s been a bit of a nightmare to drive.

“But we’ve just kept our heads down, kept working away, so I’m proud of everyone for just staying positive.

“To get fifth in qualy…those guys ahead of us are in another league, so I’m generally happy with where we are.

“It’s not the front row but we will make improvements and do the best we can tomorrow.”


Of course, qualifying and race pace are two very different things, but Hamilton does not believe the switch to race conditions will change his fortunes.

Instead of plotting a way to fight with Red Bull and Ferrari, he believes his job will be to keep those behind at bay.

“Those guys will be going away, so we are not in the fight with those,” he said of Red Bull and Ferrari when asked what he can do to stay in the fight with them on Sunday.

“They were a second ahead of us yesterday through race pace, so my battle is with the guys behind most likely.

“But of course I’ll try to be as fast as I can and get ahead, but as I said their performance is quite a bit ahead of ours.”


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