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Hamilton says Aston Martin appears to be ‘fully in the fray’ Sport-rated




Aston Martin appears to be “fully in contention” at the front of the Formula 1 grid based on pre-season testing ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, according to Lewis Hamilton. And the seven-time world champion says he’s enjoying the challenge of having another team in the mix.

Mercedes had a difficult pre-season despite improving its proposition problems compared to 12 months ago, struggling with car balance and raw pace over three days last week. By contrast, Aston Martin looked comparable to both Mercedes and Ferrari in certain races, and Hamilton believes it is another rival that is a welcome addition to the fight between the top teams.

“I’m very happy to see Aston have stepped up and as far as we know they are fully in the game,” Hamilton said. “From all the data we have, you don’t know what fuel loads people are on and these different types of things, it’s kind of all over the place, but it seems like they’re very, very strong and could be fighting well. in the front part.

“We’ll find out the next day or so. I can’t tell if they are ahead of us or if we are behind them, but I always hope there are more than two teams or three teams in the mix.”

While positive about Aston’s improvements, Hamilton says Mercedes has a lot of work to do to get closer to Red Bull and suggests it’s still not happy with the W14.

“As for the things that we have here, we have a wing that we are going to test and hopefully it will be better suited to this circuit,” he said. “I don’t think that’s going to change everything in a massive way, but I hope that it pushes us in the right direction.

“We’ve had to go through a lot of data and we definitely have a better understanding of where we need to put the car and where the car’s weak points are. So that won’t be fixed right now, but the men and women at the factory are focused on fixing it as soon as possible.”

Hamilton says the progress made in regards to Mercedes’ vision at least allows the team a clearer understanding of the weaknesses that need to be worked on.

“I think that everyone who has been through those three days will know where they sit and what tools they have to work with. Naturally, you arrive here with a much better understanding of the challenges ahead. I think we’ve had some really good days digesting the data, reviewing it: I’ve been on calls every day with the team, digging…

“Everyone has been working very hard to make sure that we get here as well prepared as possible with the information that we have. We still have a good challenge ahead of us.”

The Briton at least feels that he starts with a little more certainty about the forward’s past.

“From the moment I drove the car, I knew where we were and the challenges we would face,” he said. “On a positive note, not having the rebound this year is a huge advantage, and I think trying to understand what the issues were while the rebound really masks so many, makes it hard to figure out what they are.

“So we don’t have that now, and we can just focus on pure performance. I am encouraged to see the focus and courage of everyone on the team, so focused on getting us back to the top. We’re not where we wanted to start a season, naturally. But this is still a team and a group of people who have won multiple world championships. So I believe in that.”

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