Lewis Hamilton’s hopes of claiming record eighth world championship after a 2022 to forget rely on Mercedes working out lingering problems… and pre-season testing shows rivals Red Bull and Ferrari are only getting stronger

Wherever he lines up on the grid on Sunday for the Bahrain Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton will start the race with a staggering distinction. Although Hamilton finished second-fastest on the third day, Mercedes will be concerned with the inconsistency from last year making its way into their new dawn. Constructors were impacted across the grid but no team was more impaired by the bouncing sensation that Mercedes, with both Hamilton and Russell seeming to find driving the car physically painful. That Mercedes have not been able to wholly banish the demons from last season has not passed their star driver by. Hamilton said that it was ‘difficult to know’ where in the pack Mercedes would be fighting after pre-season testing.

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