After being convincingly surpassed in qualifying by Ferrari and Red Bull, Lewis Hamilton has laid out his intentions for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton has accepted that he will be fighting “the guys behind” in Bahrain, but expects to pose “a little bit of trouble” for qualifying leaders Ferrari and Red Bull.
Hamilton had to qualify for fifth place on the grid for the 2022 season opening after a difficult pre-season, lapping more than half a second slower than pole-sitter Charles Leclerc and 2021 title challenger Max Verstappen.
Given the pace of the Ferrari and Red Bull kits, Hamilton understands he won’t have a real chance of finishing on the podium in Sunday’s race, conceding that Mercedes “can’t truly compete” right now.
The strategy is what Hamilton and Mercedes are banking on
After the Q2 regulation was removed over the winter, Hamilton referred to strategic variety as an aspect for Mercedes to capitalise on.
“Obviously, the goal is to finish every race and maximise the points,” Hamilton said as he prepared for the 57-lap race.
“Realistically, we can’t really compete pace-wise with the guys that are ahead of us, but we can fight the guys behind.
“However, we might have a slightly different strategy; if you look at the tyre situation, who knows whether that can come into play.”
Hamilton aims to “hold on” to Ferrari and Red Bull
In Sakhir, Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez will share the second row of the grid, just ahead of Lewis Hamilton, behind their teammates.
Hamilton wants to stay with Ferrari and Red Bull as long as feasible, assuming the W13’s race speed is “a little bit better than we anticipate.”
“[Looking at Friday practice], this won’t necessarily be the case, but every day is a bit different,” Hamilton went on to comment.
“Maybe we can hold onto the guys ahead, just for a little while, and give them a little bit of trouble, but we definitely won’t be quicker than any of the guys ahead of us.”
Following a hampered last run in qualifying, Hamilton’s new teammate George Russell will enter the race from ninth place.
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