SAKHIR, Bahrain: 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 out-perform 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.”Vettel won Sunday’s race despite admitting he felt Mercedes had him in ‘check-mate’ 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.