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Mercedes duo frustrated by ‘strange day’

Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were left disappointed and frustrated on Saturday after finishing seventh and fifth in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. 

“It’s a shame that we didn’t get to show any of the real potential of this car so it’s been a bit of a strange day,” said Russell. “It’s nothing really to be too concerned about – all we needed was to put a slightly bigger bodywork on the car.”

Seven-time champion Hamilton, who is leaving Mercedes for Ferrari to replace Carlos Sainz in 2025, had topped practice on Friday ahead of Russell, raising hopes of a strong performance. 

But after starting ninth, he struggled to make an impact while Russell went from third to fifth – with both hit by cooling problems. 

“I think there is a feeling of disappointment within the team,” Hamilton said. “I thought we would have been better today than we were. It was a close race, degradation was high.”

Asked to identify positives learned from the race, he shrugged and smiled. “I mean…the car’s reliable,” he said. “Today was a struggle in the car. I was giving everything, but there wasn’t a lot of performance. 

“If I qualified better, naturally I would’ve been a bit ahead. It was about discovery, I found out a lot about the car.”

Russell said both he and Hamilton had been undermined by nagging problems. 

“We both faced a similar problem for some reas+on,” he said. “We had massive engine over-heating and the battery wasn’t working properly.

“I made a really good start, got into second and then suddenly I had these big red alarms on my steering wheel and I had no battery left.

“We had to turn the power down. We were losing about four-tenths a lap just in power.

“Our forecast of the conditions was incorrect so we need to go round that loop and ultimately it cost us a lot.

“I think all of the teams have maybe five or six different cooling specifications and we went with our most aggressive option and clearly just went too far, it was just simply a decision that we chose the wrong bodywork for the conditions of today.”

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