Australian GP polesitter made fifth and fourth quickest in the first and second Friday practice session in Sakhir, for Bahrain GP, which is nowhere near where he is used to being in practice sessions, qualifying sessions or races.
Now Hamilton has been hit with a five-place grid penalty for Bahrain Grand Prix race as a result of a gearbox change, meaning he can start no higher than sixth place in the race.
A Mercedes insider revealed that Hamilton’s gearbox had troubled with a hydraulic leak during the race in Australian Grand Prix. It was only when it was examined in the Bahrain paddock this week, under FIA direction, that bearing damage was discovered.
Mercedes technical director James Allison admitted following practice that the team was not as comfortable with its performance as it had been at the Melbourne season opener.
“Although we were untroubled by any reliability issues, and we ran through our programme as expected, it wasn’t our best day from a performance point of view,” he said.
“We’ve got more to do overnight and in the session tomorrow to give us a car that will allow us to have a good fight in qualifying and on Sunday. The base is okay but we have not yet found the sort of edge that we had in Melbourne.”