From Broken Seats to Battery Woes: Unpacking Mercedes’ Bahrain Grand Prix Challenges

Mercedes faced initial challenges with their W15 at the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix. The high expectations for the W15 to challenge Red Bull’s RB20 were quickly dispelled as Max Verstappen dominated the Bahrain circuit.

Lewis Hamilton encountered engine difficulties, ending the race in seventh place, while George Russell reported issues with his battery, finishing fifth.

Both drivers had to adopt a lift and coast strategy during the race. This feedback serves as a stark indication that Mercedes is still adjusting to their new car design.

“He even mentioned that his seat was broken. There was a lot that they were dealing with. They seemed optimistic, at least Lewis did,” said Sky Sports F1’s Naomi Schiff

“This is now the bitter reality. We’ve seen the car’s performance in qualifying and seen the performance in the race.

She continued: “While I think they have made a step forward, because the drivers have told us that the grip is tighter, but if you look at the performance of the Red Bulls, [Mercedes] are still quite a while away.

“It means they will still have to work at this concept. They’ve only had this concept for a couple of weeks on track while some teams in this paddock have had this concept for two years.

“They are still in the learning phase of how to really lock in the performance.”

Damon Hill commented on Russell giving up an important position to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc following a lock-up.

He stated: “He was making good progress and I wondered how well he could do. They faded away. As Toto said, it sounds like they got the cooling wrong and had lots of issues.

“They have still got lots of learnings about this car, and getting it right. For a car to have a cooling problem on a freezing cold night…It looks like they got this part of the equation wrong. But they are still learning.”

Hamilton candidly expressed concerns over the gap to Red Bull, indicating it was larger than anticipated and pinpointed several areas for potential improvement.

Hamilton speaking to Sky Sports after the race commented: “I personally feel great. Physically I feel great so winter training has worked.

“I think we probably feel a little bit of disappointment within the team. I was definitely hoping we’d be better this weekend than we were. It was a tough race. It was close with everybody.

“Degradation is obviously high. There’s plenty of areas in which we can improve. We’re further back to the Red Bulls than we thought we were.”