Hamilton: Red Bull not pushing, they’ll run away with it

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Lewis Hamilton has no doubt he will add to his record tally of 103 Formula 1 victories but cannot say how long he might have to wait as he believes rivals Red Bull are a lot quicker than they let on in Bahrain, where they dominated two weeks ago.

The harsh reality for Mercedes is that they had the fourth fastest car in Bahrain – beaten soundly by Red Bull, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, the Spaniard’s Merc-powered Aston dancing around Hamilton’s Mercedes, during the race, adding to the pain.

Looking back on Bahrain, Hamilton told reporters today: “I think in the race they weren’t pushing and so I think they are a lot quicker than they even seemed. We have it as them a second and a half faster in the race per lap. Something like that.

“They will run away with it most likely this year unless Ferrari can stop them. At some point during the year we’re hopeful we might be able to close the gap but at that point it will probably be too late in terms of fighting for a championship.”

The veteran of 311 Grand Prix said then that Mercedes were on the wrong track, and he had not been listened to, while team boss Toto Wolff agreed the car concept needed a rethink. Russell feared Red Bull could win every race.

Hamilton replied simply ‘no’ and ‘yes’ in Jeddah when asked whether he felt closer to the front than last year and whether the gap to Red Bull was greater.

Hamilton: I’m not going anywhere else, I trust my team

When Lewis last won he was fighting to the wire with Verstappen — a battle that ended controversially in Abu Dhabi with Verstappen taking the title on an unpleasant night for F1.

“In 2021 when we were here, we were hoping to be fighting for another world championship. You never know what’s up ahead,” said Hamilton.

“There will be things that happen in all of our lives that we least expect but it’s not how you fall, it’s how you get up. It’s how you deal with it, it’s how you show up. It’s how you continue to remain positive and tackle the issues that you are faced with. That’s where my energy is going into and what every single person in the team is focused on.”

As for his future with Mercedes amid the dramatic performance slump the past two seasons, Hamilton added “There are always moments when not everyone agrees. We just need a kick right now. Mercedes is my family. I’m not going anywhere else. I trust my team. All we can do now is work as hard as we can together to turn,” declared Hamilton. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin; additional reporting GP247)