Mercedes 'further behind' and 'on the wrong track' with W14 - Hamilton

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Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes are "further behind" and "on the wrong track" after Bahrain Grand Prix practice.

The seven-time world champion was only eighth fastest in the more representative second session under the lights at Sakhir on Friday, six-tenths off the pace set astonishingly by Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin.

And while the real pecking order won't be fully known until after qualifying on Saturday, Hamilton is already pessimistic.

“I’m trying everything we can out there," he said. "It is what it is, we just have to work at it.

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"On the long run, we’re quite close to Ferrari, it looks like Aston is second, then we’re between third or fourth.

"So we’re kind of where we are last year, or a little bit further behind."

This year, Mercedes opted to stick with an evolution of their 'zeropod' design on the W14 rather than switch to a more traditional sidepod, with many teams mimicking Red Bull's downwash concept.

And while the Brackley-based outfit insists that is not the cause of their performance issues, Hamilton appears less convinced.

“It’s difficult for everybody, and not where anyone at the team wants to be, or where everyone at the team deserves to be," he said.


"Everyone works so hard and really is so courageous and thoughtful in their process, but we’re just on the wrong track.

“We’ve got to continue to graft away and find a way to get ourselves on the right track, but we’re a long way off the guys in front.

“Do I believe we can close the gap at some stage? Yes," he added, trying to remain positive. "There was good progress through last year, but the gap wasn’t as big as it is now.

"I think it’s quite hard [to close the gap] with the concept we have.”

As for teammate George Russell, he was only 13th fastest in the tightly bunched timesheet in Practice 2.