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“We’re not quick enough” Lewis Hamilton on 2021 hopes

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Mercedes. 7 constructors championships in a row, 7 drivers titles in a row, a totally unstoppable force last season and yet it seems they’ve lost all of this advantage in 2021. Yes it’s only pre-season testing and they could be sandbagging or only running high fuel but the car itself looked unstable with both Lewis and Valtteri commenting on the lack of stability on the rear end. What’s happened to Mercedes AMG Petronas? 

Testing at the Bahrain International Circuit drew to a close today with teams such as McLaren, Red Bull and Alpha Tauri showing real promise heading into the season. Mercedes on the other hand struggled with car performance throughout the 3 days. Valtteri topped the timing sheets yesterday afternoon and today highlighted some positives for the Brackley outfit. Valtteri took to the track this morning under clear blue skies, putting together 86 laps of long run set-up work and general balance learning. Following this Lewis jumped in the cockpit for the afternoon session completing a mix of long-run and qualifying work over 54 laps.

The team and drivers have had their say on the days running:

Valtteri Bottas:

“Day one was compromised for me so I’m pleased the past two days have been efficient and clean. Today, like yesterday, we had plenty of laps and ran good quality tests. I’m still not entirely comfortable but we’ve been moving forward and getting better. There’s still more work to do; we’ve collected lots of data over these past few days which we will analyse to help us make the car faster ahead of the first race. Time is even more limited now with the recent changes but our recovery from the first day has been very good. I absolutely believe that the car and team has the potential to fight for the title. I don’t

think the package is quite there yet in terms of performance but I have no doubt it will be. I feel like
I’ve had enough time in the car, performing short runs and long runs, and I really feel comfortable and confident. From my side I’m ready and as a team, we will be ready.”
Lewis Hamilton:
“I’ve never been a massive fan of testing, I just love racing! It’s probably the only year I would have asked for more days though, because we’ve got lots of work to do. We’ve never felt in the past that we were quicker than everyone else after testing because you never know what people are doing with the fuel and set-ups. We always just focus on understanding our car the best way we can so if I’m honest, I feel the same this year. We won’t know until we get to qualifying in two weeks’ time exactly where we stand. Today we made some improvements but it’s still not where we want to be. I can’t pick out any one area, it just feels globally through the lap that we need to improve. I’m looking forward to getting back into competition and back in that focus mode. Our team is all rowing in the same boat – we win and we lose together. I’m just happy to start another journey together with these boys and girls.”
In a video the team put out on social media, Lewis said “We’re not quick enough at the moment but I have every faith in the team. We love challenges and this is a challenge for us.”
Andrew Shovlin: 
“We’ve had another day with good reliability where we were able to run to plan through out the day. Valtteri was doing long run setup work in the morning and Lewis doing a mix of long run work and qualifying work in the afternoon. We’ve made a bit of progress with the balance on higher fuel and the car was more predictable but we can see from the data we’ve collected over the last few days that on race pace, we’re not as quick as Red Bull. The lower fuel work was a more confusing picture, we didn’t gain enough and we need to go and look at our approach as far too many cars were ahead of us on pace today. We’ve had issues in recent years with pace in winter testing and managed to make good progress before the first race but we may have our work cut out this time. We’ve not got long before we’re back here for the race so we’ve planned a programme of work to try and understand some of our issues and will be leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to find some more speed over the next ten days.”
Mercedes are rarely the fastest team at testing but have still managed to come out on top by the first race, but this year looks a little more serious than usual. It’s safe to say the team have their work cut out!

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