(Motorsport) Seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton claims Mercedes are far behind rivals Red Bull Racing and it could take a year for the Silver Arrows to catch up. The German manufacturers are currently redesigning their car after falling behind not just Red Bull but also Aston Martin after falling behind the grid for a second consecutive season. Red Bull have looked very dominant in the opening two races, with both Sergio Perez and reigning champion Max Verstappen finishing no lower than second and are looking clear favourites for the Australian Grand Prix as well.
In an interview, Lewis Hamilton said “It is going to take us the rest of the year to potentially close that gap. If you look at the Red Bull, it is just going to continue to evolve most likely. Some cars plateau in terms of performance. At some point it can’t just keep going. But maybe it can. They have a great team around them and I am sure they will continue to add downforce. We just have to make sure when we do make the change hopefully the drop isn’t too far and hopefully it is going to take us the rest of the year for sure to potentially close that gap.
“I don’t know if people know, but we sit closer to the front wheels than all the other drivers. Our cockpit is too close to the front. When you’re driving, you feel like you’re sitting on the front wheels, which is one of the worst feelings to feel when you’re driving a car. If you were driving your car at home and you pulled the wheels right underneath your legs, you would not be happy when you’re approaching the roundabout.
“What that does is it really changes the attitude of the car and how you perceive its movement. And it makes it harder to predict compared to when you’re further back and sitting more centred. It is just something I have really struggled with.
“I listened to the team and that was the direction they said we should go. Had I known the feeling I would have in it, it wouldn’t have happened. And it has to change for the future – 100%. We have a car that is very forward, very much on the nose early on, and then shifts later on. There is a part of me that is just hopeful we find the trick and are straight on to the right track that is not far away from the others.
“We have shown in the past that we can develop quickly and hope that is the case that as the potential of the car opens up, we will full steam ahead in that direction. I am grateful they are open to making a shift and not being stuck with what we have and I am aware it could take a long time.”