Hamilton says he has no intention of challenging the Red Bulls in Australia


Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton admitted on Friday that Mercedes had little hope of matching the Red Bulls in Australia, and that matching their fifth-place finish in Saudi Arabia was a more realistic goal.

The Briton impressed in the opening practice at Albert Park behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, before dropping to 13th in the second session affected by rain.

He blamed the changes made to the car between the two hour runs for the gap.

The car “was pretty good this morning, we made some changes, it didn’t work, so we will review it tonight,” he said.

“Then it rained clearly not the best of the sessions. You don’t really learn a lot if there’s a gap between (positions), just the safety of the car.”

He learned to know that come the race day on Sunday, Mercedes will again play Verstappen and his son. Red Bull Sergio Perez’s team.

On the high-speed, friendly Jeddah track two weeks ago, Mercedes showed signs of life, with Hamilton fifth and his teammate George Russell fourth.

It was a clear change from the race at the start of the season in Bahrain where they outclassed the Ferraris, but were behind Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin and the victorious Red Bull team.

Hamilton said another fifth place was a good result for him in Australia.

“We don’t compete with the Red Bulls,” he said. “We’re just trying to see if we can get as high as possible.

Russell, who finished fourth in the second practice, was more optimistic, saying “it hasn’t been a bad day”.

“We made some good steps with the car on Friday. We changed a few things and got the car in a nice window during the weekend,” he added.

“It’s quite satisfying from the driver’s seat, knowing the car feels good and as a team we’ve contributed to that.”


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