Lewis Hamilton wasn’t able to get his new F1 season off to a winning start on Sunday, with the 37-year-old finishing third at the Bahrain Grand Prix. However, that’s no bad thing with the Brit still doing brilliantly to earn third on the podium. And comments from Martin Brundle will likely bode well when it comes to the Stevenage-born racer’s chances of more Formula One glory.
With Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez both forced to retire due to complications with Red Bull’s latest car, that paved the way for Hamilton to take third spot.
The Brit, who is looking to beat Michael Schumacher’s title record this term with a historic eighth triumph, finished only behind Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr.
Hamilton, after the race, insisted he was happy with Mercedes’ showing on the grid – with George Russell narrowly missing out on a place on the podium by finishing fourth.
“Of course, we were fortunate, but ultimately we’ve done a better job – we have better reliability,” he said.
“I wouldn’t say that’s luck. I think this is the hard work of everyone.
Want the latest football news? Join our brand new Facebook group by clicking here
“It’s such a long season. It’s going to be such a hard battle, but we love a challenge – I really do enjoy a challenge.
“It is a privilege for all of us to be able to work with large teams of people who are hungry, who are focused on a common goal.
“There’s no greater feeling when you all come together and you get a result like this.”
And now Brundle, writing in his Sky Sports column, believes Mercedes are merely a couple of updates away from challenging Ferrari for F1 glory.
He said: “With Red Bull’s demise, the Mercedes boys Lewis Hamilton and George Russell came in third and fourth with what is currently the third-fastest car in F1.
THINK YOU KNOW SPORT? Test your sporting knowledge with our tricky quiz
“The W13 looks a technical beauty and for me seems like a car which is a couple of aero updates away from joining the Ferrari and Red Bull party.”
Those comments will certainly please Hamilton as he attempts to make history.
Yet Brundle did air some caution by adding: “Or could it turn out to be similar to the 2003 McLaren MP4-18, a car that was an equally tightly packaged beauty but never raced?
“The W13 has now raced of course, and the irony here is that Lewis’ third position is one better than his opening race finish for his last world championship in 2020, and fourth place is George Russell’s best F1 result in a race which actually took place, unlike Spa last year.
“There’s significant latent potential all round at Mercedes and no doubt they’ll be back soon enough.
“Time will tell over the next few races how relevant this is, but four of the top six cars were Ferrari powered and the last six cars to make the chequered flag were all Mercedes powered.”
While Hamilton was happy with his side’s showing in Bahrain, he did admit they must take every point possible.
“I’ve lost world titles with just one point,” he said.
“Whilst we’re currently not necessarily – performance-wise – fighting with these guys [Ferrari], as I mentioned, this is not [just] damage limitation, but just a really, really great result.
“I think, in terms of our processes, in terms of squeezing absolutely everything out of the car, that’s what we did, for both drivers.
“And I think that’s a true showing of strength within.”
Hamilton will be hoping to do even better when the Saudian Arabia Grand Prix kicks off on Sunday.
It will be just the second time in F1 history it’s been held in the country, with the race set to commence in Jeddah.
Hamilton came top of the standings in the same race last year, with Max Verstappen finishing second and Valtteri Bottas third.