Lewis Hamilton says Sakhir’s windy conditions contributed to his off-track excursion on Saturday morning, while Mercedes was working on finding “the sweet spot” for its W12.
A rare mistake from the seven-time world champion at Bahrain’s Turn 13 left Hamilton beached in the gravel trap, a mishap that brought out the first red flag of the day.
Although conditions at Sakhir on Saturday were an improvement on Friday’s sand-storm environment, gusty winds around the track remained present.
“Today the wind I think did a 180, so the track is a lot different today,” said Hamilton. “Some places you can push where you couldn’t yesterday, and it’s very gusty, as I found out into Turn 13.
“So the rear doesn’t feel particularly great with this new regulation change, but we’re trying to find the sweet spot.”
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Following the various issues Mercedes encountered on the opening day of testing, including a gearbox change on the team’s W12, the Brackley squad was left behind in terms of mileage relative to its rivals.
But Hamilton appeared unconcerned for now by the deficit, insisting his team was keeping its head down, focused on its own programs.
“It’s day two of testing, we’re just focused on doing our job, so nowhere near at the moment,” Hamilton said, speaking before Mercedes’ trouble-free afternoon session
“I think we’re just focusing on trying to understand the car. There’s no point in getting worried just yet.
“Everyone is focusing on their programmes, and that is what we’re doing.”
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Hamilton added that so far, testing had not been especially “useful” in helping Mercedes understand its new car.
“Compared to the past, it’s not been particularly useful,” he added.
“We’ve done what, 60 laps? Something like that. And Valtteri I think is about to go and do his first laps, so it’s not a lot compared to other test days we’d normally have, but we’re trying to be as efficient as we can be.
“We have less mileage than some of the others, like the Red Bulls, so far.
“We’re just trying to stick to our programme and manage the amount of laps that we have also, and try to be as efficient as we can.”
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