Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hamilton concerned about Mercedes form, looks for Shanghai boost

Hamilton concerned about Mercedes form, looks for Shanghai boost

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton walks down the paddock prior to the Bahrain Grand Prix at the Sakhir circuit in Manama on Sunday. AFP
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton walks down the paddock prior to the Bahrain Grand Prix at the Sakhir circuit in Manama on Sunday. AFP

Hamilton concerned about Mercedes form, looks for Shanghai boost

Lewis Hamilton on Monday admitted to concerns about Mercedes’ early-season form after seeing Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel remain unbeaten in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 33-year-old defending four-time world champion said he had little idea how or why Ferrari had been able to outperform his Mercedes team, Vettel claiming a tense win ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

It was the German’s second win in as many races this season and installed him as a clear favourite to beat Hamilton to become a five-time champion.

“I am thinking and wondering,” said Hamilton. “My thoughts are already on the world championship – I’ve lost two races in a row now and I am 17 points down after just two races.

“Obviously, the grid penalty was difficult to swallow here this weekend, but I think the team did a really good job.

“Hopefully, when we go to China for the next race, we will have a better understanding of the tyres and put up a better fight against Ferrari.

“Shanghai has been kind to me in the past so I am hoping I can bounce back.”

Wolff encouraged

Vettel won Sunday’s race despite admitting he felt Mercedes had him in “checkmate” when they adopted a one stop strategy.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he believed that move had given his team a “90 per cent chance” of winning, with Bottas on durable medium tyres close behind Vettel who was on soft tyres and a two-stop strategy.

But Ferrari switched strategy and asked Vettel to go the full distance – meaning he ran 39 laps on used soft tyres to complete the race.

“I think we had won the race already after coming out on the medium behind Sebastian, with a gap that we were able to close down, and knowing that they would either need to stop once again or they would run out of tyre,” said Wolff.

“At that moment, I would say 90 per cent probability was on us winning – and we lost that.”

Hamilton said he believed he lost the race in qualifying when he could not match Ferrari’s pace – as they locked out the front row of the grid and he had a changed gearbox that cost him five places.

“I could not make the moves I wanted to in the opening laps and that cost me,” said Hamilton.

Wolff added that he was encouraged by the pace of Mercedes cars in the closing laps as they chased down Vettel without avail.

“What was interesting to see was that maybe the pace of the Ferrari was not as good as we expected,” he added.

“They were fuel saving straight from the beginning, which for sure cost them performance.

“Our pace was solid on the super-soft and actually I think we could have probably been able to go a little quicker.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said

  • Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

    After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach. The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved