Hamilton concerned about gap to Ferrari

Image Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Media

There was a lot of focus on Mercedes' engine modes at the Australian Grand Prix in the wake of Lewis Hamilton's dominant pole position, but the indications are that there is very little to choose between the performance of the German vehicle manufacturer and Ferrari.

Round two of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship takes us to Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff calmed fears for Hamilton's hopes of snatching pole position, claiming Ferrari had been running in a "high power mode".

"Overall I have been happier this weekend with how the auto has been responding and how the front end is responding".

The gap between the Ferraris was also small - Raikkonen had a slight edge on pace, as he had in the first race of the season in Australia, but was just 0.011secs ahead of Vettel.

A Mercedes spokesman confirmed Hamilton would have a new gearbox for final practice and qualifying, incurring an automatic five-place penalty.

Mercedes got closer in qualifying than they looked like they might at one point but Vettel was still 0.166 seconds quicker than the fastest Mercedes of Bottas.




"No I'm definitely not where I [need to be]", Hamilton said. It looked like a similar error, just losing control of the vehicle through the apex, at a race Red Bull would have hoped to have two cars putting Ferrari under pressure from the very start.

Raikkonen set the fastest time in Free Practice Two but looked as though he might lose his spot at the top of the times when he was forced to pull over due to a loose front wheel. I meant it. On a track like Bahrain, with a very abrasive surface, and lots of heat, we struggled. Here the track improves all the time, with more grip every lap.

Aside from the two title favourites, there will be a number of other storylines to keep an eye on, especially whether Red Bull pair Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen can respond after missing out on podium places in Melbourne. Gasly (Toro Rosso), 6.

Renault continued their solid start to the season with Nico Hulkenberg sixth and Carlos Sainz 10th as Esteban Ocon signalled Force India's improvement by making Q3 in eighth.

Toro Rosso's French driver Pierre Gasly did make the final session and will line up fifth in a stunning performance for his Honda-powered team.

Williams completed the bottom of the timing screens, with Sergey Sirotkin 0.419 seconds adrift of Leclerc's Sauber in 19th while Lance Stroll finished as the slowest driver of the session in 20th, nearly three seconds off the pace.

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