After finishing almost 15 seconds adrift, subtracting the pitstop gap, behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen Mercedes and in particular Lewis Hamilton was expected to perform better at the second race and make a dent in the performance of Red Bull.
FP2 gave some hope but shortly it was dismissed as Toto Wolff said the team was running higher engine modes and the gap is still there.
Speaking to the press, Hamilton acknowledged that challenging the Red Bull will be out of the question as now they even have McLaren of Lando Norris in between them.
“I would say so. On pure pace, it’s definitely out of the question.
“Those guys have got two cars to get through in front, and they’ve got three-tenths on us – I think they’ve improved their car again for this weekend – so I would say that’s an easy cruise [to a] win for Max. I think for us it’s to try and see if we can get ahead of Perez and try to limit the damage this weekend,” he explained.
Despondent Hamilton said that they had no answers to the pace of Red Bull as they have tried everything and instead of taking a step forward, they have gone backwards.
“We’ve just got to try and improve; we’ve still got a long way to go. In the heat today, Red Bull seemed to step forwards and we stepped backwards so let’s see what tomorrow brings,” he told
“This weekend is more of a challenge than it was already last week and we continue to lack pace. We tried everything to get more out of the car but the underlying pace just isn’t good enough at the moment, so we’ve got to really find performance in the following races”
The seven-time World Champion is also shocked by the performance of Lando Norris as he has slotted himself between the two Mercedes and Red Bulls.
''I don’t know if McLaren brought an upgrade but they were mega quick today so great job from Lando.''
Hamilton is not thinking about the win tomorrow as he thinks he can’t take the challenge up to Verstappen; he believes they are too fast and he will focus on two cars ahead of him.
“I don’t – we definitely can’t take it to the Red Bulls, obviously. Just too fast. But maybe we can step up, I guess my race now is with the two guys ahead of me – trying to get past them,” he summarised.
Mercedes are 40 points behind the Red Bull in the Constructors' standings and this Qualifying would surely won't help them reduce that gap.