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GP Week : Issue 181
It was always going to be a challenging Sunday afternoon for Mercedes, despite Nico Rosberg’s pole position. What speed the team have demonstrated on Saturday appears to have hampered them on Sunday, as both driver have struggled to maintain position on tyres that simply aren’t up to the fight after a strong qualifying run. Rosberg admitted before the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix that he didn’t expect to be able to hold position at the front for long, and the German racer was proved right, finishing the afternoon in 9th place, with only two points to call his own. It was a more successful day for teammate Lewis Hamilton, but the Briton experienced a race of two halves, with the first stint spent running around in the middle of the pack in an average P12 before a dramatic improvement in pace – which the 2008 world champion admitted had mystified him as much as it did the on-lookers – saw him finish in 5th place after a good fight with the Red Bull of Mark Webber. “I’m very, very happy – massively happy,” Hamilton said in the Sakhir paddock. “The race started so badly. I wanted to get a good start, but I got a terrible start. Then I was so slow. I was nowhere, no speed at all. No matter what I did to the car, it didn't get any faster. “All of a sudden something happened after the second pit stop; all of a sudden the car started reacting differently and I could push again. It must have been something that happened to the car in qualifying when we changed the gearbox, and it sorted itself. At the beginning I was a sitting duck, and then it was great to be able to do some overtaking. All of a sudden, the car was amazing.” Despite Hamilton’s mid-afternoon about-turn in fortune, the racer from Stevenage conceded that there was still work to be done back at the factory before the Silver Arrows would be in position to take the fight to the front. “I feel like we're holding on by the skin of our teeth,” Hamilton admitted. “I'm very proud of what the team have done getting the car turned around just to where we are already. So I feel very fortunate to be where we are points-wise and finishing-wise, but we've got to keep pushing. The guys at the factory have got to keep pushing because we're not that far off and if we can just make that next step we can close that gap.” Mercedes’ race of two halves F1 >>> BAHRAIN 20 GPWEEK.com // 20 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: