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‘We thought we’d be closer’ – Hamilton admits Mercedes had hoped for more after P7 finish in Bahrain

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 01: 9th placed qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton feels that Mercedes have work to do to get on terms with their rivals after he ended the Bahrain Grand Prix in seventh place, with the Briton admitting that he was expecting to be closer in the fight.

After a disappointing qualifying saw him start from P9 on the grid for Saturday’s race, it proved to be a less than straightforward evening for Hamilton, with his W15 experiencing cooling issues during the event as well as a broken seat.

READ MORE: Verstappen storms to victory in action-packed season-opening Bahrain GP

He eventually crossed the line in P7, while team mate George Russell took P5. Speaking afterwards, Hamilton acknowledged that it had not been his day in Bahrain.

‘We thought we’d be closer’ admits Hamilton after P7 finish in Bahrain

“No definitely wasn’t ideal today [or] this weekend,” said the seven-time world champion. “We thought we were going to be closer, but clearly not, so to be kind of the same, if not… actually I can’t remember where we finished last year, I think it was fourth and fifth.

“I think if I’d qualified better, I think that’s probably where we would have finished today, or at least fifth and sixth probably, but not much more to it.”

READ MORE: Russell insists there's ‘potential’ in the Mercedes car after being hindered by ‘big red alarms' in Bahrain

Earlier in the weekend, Hamilton had suggested that taking “risks” with his set-up may have contributed to his difficulties on track. With this in mind, the 39-year-old was asked whether – without this factor and the reliability concerns in Saturday’s race – he had confidence that Mercedes have made a step forward with their 2024 car.

2024 Bahrain Grand Prix: Piastri loses out to Hamilton for P7 at Turn 1

“I definitely think we’ve got a… I need to go and look and see,” responded Hamilton. “The others look quick and it looked very close between us and McLaren and Aston [Martin], so I think we’ve got a lot of work to do.

“It was a pretty average race as you can see, but I gave it everything and I feel good within myself.”

FACTS AND STATS: Red Bull tie Williams’ win tally in first-ever retirement-free season opener

Hamilton will be hoping for better when the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend kicks off in less than one week’s time.

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