Lewis Hamilton sums up Mercedes woes with alarming Haas admission at Austrian GP

If someone had said this time last year that Haas would have a faster car than Mercedes, it would’ve been a struggle to convince anyone to listen.

But that’s exactly the scenario Lewis Hamilton says he was facing in the Austrian Grand Prix Sprint race as he laid bare the extent to which the tables have turned in Formula One this season. Hamilton found himself fighting to overtake Mick Schumacher after a spectacular duel to finish 8th at the Red Bull Ring.

Hamilton had to work hard to split the Haas duo and finish behind Kevin Magnussen after being caught in a DRS train – and he admitted the cars he was facing were simply quicker than his Mercedes down the straights. That is a remarkable state of affairs given Mercedes have won eight straight constructors titles whereas Haas failed to register a single point last season and managed just three in 2020.

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“I didn’t learn anything necessarily in the race except it was slower than the Haas,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 after the sprint race. “But I’ve got one now in front of me, not two.

“We’ve got to wait until we get out of the DRS train to try and reposition our car but give it everything we can tomorrow.”

Hamilton’s race got off to a tricky start after being involved in an incident which saw Pierre Gasly spin. Asked about the incident, the British superstar said: “I had two cars come around me into Turn 1 and move across. There’s nowhere I could really go, so unfortunate – I don’t think I could have done anything.

Lewis Hamilton admitted his Mercedes had less speed than Haas in the Austrian GP sprint race

Lewis Hamilton admitted his Mercedes had less speed than Haas in the Austrian GP sprint race
Sky Sports F1)

“Then I got the same thing in Turn 3. So just grateful to get around the first lap and then after that, just trying to catch up because it was quite slow on the straights. So you kind of stay in the same place.”

Meanwhile, Schumacher was left unhappy that his team did not tell teammate Magnussen to let him overtake as he felt he had more speed.

“Yeah, it’s something to be discussed,” he told Sky Sports F1 of his team’s strategy during the Sprint. “Obviously, I think that the battle with Lewis was fun, but in the first place it shouldn’t have happened.” Schumacher added: “I think in some ways I was quite a bit quicker [than Magnussen].”

Asked whether he believed he should have swapped places with his teammate, he simply responded: “Yeah.” The exasperated German also confirmed he asked team bosses to instigate the switch, only for them to refuse his plea. Adding to his woes, Schumacher is also facing an FIA investigation for a potential “starting procedure infringement”.

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