Lewis Hamilton said that he felt “deflated” after a five-second time penalty cost him the chance of beating Sebastian Vettal in the Bahrain GP.
While he was let through twice by his teammate Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton couldn’t catch up with Vettel and finished second, 6.6 seconds behind the Ferrari driver.
Speaking about the race Hamilton said, “I’m a little bit deflated. Ferrari did a great job. But ultimately you set out to move forwards and do well for the team and I don’t feel like I executed the way I could.”
Many are saying that Ferrari’s strong start to the season has pushed Mercedes out of their comfort zone. Mercedes has dominated the sport since the change to hybrid engines in 2014 and all of a sudden they are finding themselves having to fight.
For the first time since the change Mercedes are second in the Constructors’ Championship while Vettel leads Hamilton by seven points in the drivers’ standings.
Many are saying that at the moment Ferrari has the upper hand in terms of race strategy and that Mercedes are failing to react. Furthermore, while Mercedes are still qualifying in pole position, their car isn’t performing as well as Ferrari over longer races and the team will need to adapt to this.
Mercedes are running out of tyres a lot faster than Ferrari which is limiting their strategy. Furthermore, Ferrari turned up with an upgrade package in Bahrain showing that they intend to keep up the fight.
Mercedes do seem to be favouring Hamilton, they gave Bottas orders to move aside despite Bottas starting in pole position. Bottas said that the calls were “tough” but ultimately accepted the team’s decision.
“It’s probably one of the toughest things you can hear as a racing driver but that’s life. I completely understand the team’s view. Lewis had the chance to maybe get some extra points for the team but it is tough. I’m definitely a team player so I wouldn’t say no.”