Lewis Hamilton remains optimistic ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, despite Red Bull having “at least a tenth” advantage over Mercedes.
Red Bull impressed everyone in qualifying with Max Vestappen scoring an amazing pole position 0.388s ahead of Lewis Hamilton. However after the session Lewis was optimistic saying Mercedes expected the gap to Red Bull to be bigger.
“It’s definitely closer than we expected,” the Briton told Sky Sports F1.
“I think this is a really good step forward for us coming this weekend – we thought it [would be] double the gap that you see, and so that’s really down to some really fantastic work from the men and women back at the factory.
“Of course we want to be first, but we knew that it was going to be a challenge. We know we had a bit of an uphill slope to climb.”
Ultimately, Hamilton is ready to chase down Verstappen once the flag drops in Bahrain.
“They clearly still have a good chunk of time on us, but we can still fight from second place. I like being the hunter.”
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Talking to Ziggo Sport after qualifying, Hamilton went into more detail about his qualifying experience.
“They [Red Bull] did such an amazing job, maybe four tenths in qualifying,” the Briton explained.
“I mean that’s mind blowing really. I was really happy with the laps that I did and I think we did a really great job in pulling back some time that we had through testing.
“But after Q2 I was like okay, wow, maybe we’re closer than I thought. And then he [Verstappen] did that last lap.”
The seven-time champion expects Red Bull to be quicker in the race too, but he will not go down without a fight.
“I think they were quicker on the long run. At the beginning, and then later on it was a little bit closer. I think they probably have at least a tenth, maybe two advantage and it could be more.
“But I’m gonna do everything I can to try and keep it as close as possible,” concluded Hamilton.