Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes won’t be competing with Red Bull

Lewis Hamilton has downplayed any chance of securing pole for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix stating Mercedes are likely to fill out the third row of the grid.

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is not expecting to be anywhere near a match for the dominant Red Bull cars at the 2023 Australian Grand Prix, and is hoping for fifth place in Melbourne.

After a miserable start to the 2023 F1 season, Hamilton got his Australian GP weekend off to a good start with the second fastest time in FP1 and has indicated his problematic Mercedes felt slightly better to drive in the morning session.

“Very similar, to be honest,” Hamilton told the media. “It felt better this morning. We made some changes [which] didn’t work, so we’ll revise those tonight.

“We won’t be competing against the Red Bulls. It’ll just be about getting as high up the grid as possible. I think we have got the pace [to be around] fifth same as Jeddah.”

Lewis Hamilton looking on at the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix | Mercedes F1 Team

Traffic a problem at Albert Park

One of the major issues during Friday’s practice sessions was traffic in the final part of the track due to a GPS issue which caused some drivers to block those on a push lap inadvertently.

Hamilton was one of those baulked during FP1, narrowly avoiding contact with one of the AlphaTauris in sector 3.

“It rained [in FP2], so it wasn’t the greatest of sessions,” said Hamilton. “Traffic is always an issue at Albert Park, particularly in FP1.

“I think everyone had problems and was going slow on the racing line.”

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