Mercedes W15 issues come to light as Russell and Hamilton both suffer in Bahrain

Jamie Woodhouse
The Mercedes of George Russell pursued at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Mercedes of George Russell pursued.

Both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were plagued by battery problems in the Mercedes W15s in a frustrating F1 2024 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

While Hamilton had a lot of work ahead from P9 on the grid, Russell appeared in good shape to challenge for the podium starting from P3, with Mercedes having set their W15s up for race performance.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell floored by Mercedes battery woes

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

However, it turned into a story of nursing poorly challengers for both Mercedes drivers as battery issues set in, while for Hamilton, he also had overheating brakes and a broken seat for good measure.

Hamilton ultimately crossed the line P7 and Russell P5.

“For a while my battery was dead, so down the straights I was just de-rating the whole way down the straights, so I lost a lot of ground to the McLarens,” Hamilton told media including after the race.

“I was fixing that out and that took a good 10 laps and I lost 15 seconds through that.

“And then after that I was just trying to get back on it and catch up once we got that fixed and then there was a bit of overheating with the brakes and in general the performance was so-so.

“My seat started moving. It clicked and my left side dropped so then it was moving through the braking zones, not great.” recommends

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Russell confirmed that he and Hamilton were suffering similar woes on the battery front, costing him four-tenths per lap, meaning the true “potential” of the W15 could not be exploited.

“We both faced a similar problem,” Russell confirmed to Sky F1. “For whatever reason we had massive engine overheating and the battery wasn’t working properly.

“I made a really good start, I got into second, sort of like, ‘Here we go’. Then I soon had these big red alarms on my steering wheel and I had no battery left and went to turn the power down. We ended up losing about four-tenths a lap just in power and it was so difficult holding them [Ferrari and Sergio Perez] off. I was surprised we managed to do it for the first 10 laps or so.

“And then we just went backwards thereafter, so it’s a shame that we didn’t get to show any real potential of this car. A bit of a strange day.”

Asked if Mercedes had experienced this problem before with the W15, Russell replied: “No, not at all. It’s nothing really to be concerned about, all we needed to do is put a slightly bigger bodywork on.

“It may have cost us a quarter of a tenth, but we wouldn’t have had to lose four-tenths in the engine. So, our forecasts of the conditions were incorrect, so we need to go around that loop and ultimately it cost us a lot.

“But the Red Bulls were well out in front. Maybe, we could have fought for P3 or at least given them a fight slightly earlier on. Difficult day.”

It proved to be smooth sailing for Red Bull, defending World Champion Max Verstappen taking the win and fastest lap bonus point with his team-mate Perez claiming P2.

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