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Lewis Hamilton concedes ‘we’ve got a lot to work on’ as Mercedes struggles at practice

The SIlver Arrows are trying to find some answers ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix

F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Practice Photo by Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images

Questions continue to linger around Mercedes ahead of the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix, the first race of the 2023 Formula 1 season. After an up-and-down three days at pre-season testing a week ago, the first two practice sessions failed to provide the team with the answers they were seeking ahead of the season’s start.

“We’ve got a lot to work on,” said Lewis Hamilton after the practice in a statement provided to the media, including SB Nation. “We knew we were behind some of our competitors at testing and today, we found out that we are a long way off. We’ll keep our heads down tonight, go through the data, and continue to work to find some progress for tomorrow. We’ve got to find out if we can add performance overnight.”

For Hamilton’s teammate, George Russell, the W14 might be better over the long runs, but qualifying could be another big question. “It looks like our race pace is slightly stronger than our one-lap pace right now,” Said Russell after the two practice sessions. “We will continue to look at this as we need to find more lap time. It’s difficult to say exactly where we are in the order, but we want to be higher up the timing sheets than we were today. It’s only our fourth day with the W14, though, so we need to make sure we have it in the right window and are reaching its full potential.”

Why it may be the case that the W14 is better over the long runs, it still is not where it needs to be for Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin. “We made some changes going into the afternoon and the cooler conditions seemed to help in terms of the feel and balance, but the pace is still lacking,” said Shovlin after the practice sessions. “Single lap seems more of an issue than the long run but neither are good enough, so we’ve clearly got some work to do.”

Still, there is time for Mercedes to turn this around, and the season is just getting underway. “We’ve got some ideas to evaluate overnight so hopefully we can put together a package of changes that will help,” said Shovlin on Friday night.

Hamilton shared a similar sentiment, while praising the work of everyone at Mercedes. “Everyone continues to work so hard and is so courageous and thoughtful in the process. We need to continue to graft away and get ourselves back on the right track.”