Lewis Hamilton finished fifth, and George Russell seventh in the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix. Both cars ran a Soft/Hard/Hard strategy and battled throughout but disappointingly could not match the superior pace of the Red Bull, Ferrari and Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin.
Lewis made up two positions on the opening lap to run in fifth for most of the race. That became fourth when Charles Leclerc retired, but he lost out to Alonso in the closing stages. George dropped to sixth at the start, with a slow first stop relegating him to eighth. He ran close to the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll throughout but could not pass for seventh.
We did the best we could today. We are the fourth fastest team, and the Ferrari and Aston we were battling were quicker than us. It was close for a second with Sainz, but I couldn’t hang on, and he just went away in the final laps. Big congratulations to Fernando and the whole Aston Martin team too. They did a great job today. We had a fun tussle momentarily, but he was too quick. We lack a lot of downforce, and we’ve got a lot of work to do to add more to the car. We can pick up our pace when we load more front and rear load. We’ve just got to keep working; we know we are not where we need to be. I must stay positive, keep my head up and push the Team. I will be a positive light for them and get the best points possible.
We lack performance and are long behind where we want to be. Aston Martin is the surprise package this year, and our deficit to Red Bull and those ahead is too big. The positive we can take away is that the car has no fundamental problem other than lacking downforce. As silly as it sounds, that is one of the easiest problems to solve compared to what we had to do last year. We are all here to win. If we must sacrifice some races or part of this season to give ourselves a chance to fight in the second half of next year, that is what we must do. We know the Team is good at developing and finding performance, but we are far behind where we want to be. We need to find some performance quickly. Bahrain is an outlier circuit, but performance isn’t going to swing more than three-tenths positively or negatively from track to track.
Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO
That was one of our worst days in racing. It was not good at all; we are lacking pace front, right, and centre. The Aston Martins are very fast, and the Red Bull is on a different planet. It hurts that they are so far ahead; it reminds me of our best years when we put one second on everyone else. That is the benchmark. We need to put one foot in front of the other to return, but nobody in this team will throw in the towel. We need to dig deep, deeper than we ever have done before. And we can do that.
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
It was a very difficult Sunday; the gap to Red Bull is huge, and we’ve got Aston Martin and Ferrari ahead of us too. Clearly, we have a lot of work ahead and need to go back and devise a plan to try and find improvements. We lacked overall grip, and on a high degradation track like this, there was nothing the drivers could do to attack. However, seeing how the team is pulling together and how well the drivers are working together is encouraging. This is the second season we’ve started on the back foot, though, and we’re under no illusion that this is unacceptable for our team. We’ve got a few days to regroup and improve ahead of Saudi; we will work together to ensure the next race is better than this weekend.