Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has said that Lewis Hamilton remains aligned with the team, despite the seven-time world champion appearing to criticise their engineering philosophy.
Following the Friday practice sessions at the Bahrain International Circuit, Hamilton said that the team was “on the wrong track” with their approach to the new rules introduced for 2022, and said after qualifying that he was still not 100% satisfied with the car.
However, Wolff said the driver was still singing from the same hymn sheet as the team, and that the team was evaluating its approach as their rivals move in a different direction.
“No, he’s absolutely in the same in the same choir. We are super critical with ourselves and what we need to achieve. There is no such thing as a holy power,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1 after qualifying in Bahrain.
We’re looking at everything. Did we get it right with the concept, should we have reacted earlier… We just need to get our heads together and we’re going to get to eight (titles).
“He has, when compared to Alonso, another four years in him as a minimum, so we just need to get it done.”
Hamilton will start the 2023 Bahrain GP from seventh, behind teammate George Russell in sixth, with the Mercedes pair over sixth tenths behind pole sitter Max Verstappen.
Verstappen on pole
Verstappen claimed the first pole position of 2023 in a dramatic qualifying session which swung back and forth between a number of the teams and drivers, edging out teammate Sergio Perez who will start the race from second.
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc looked poised to challenge Verstappen for the top spot, but the team elected to bring in his car without shooting for a final flying lap to retain more options for the race tomorrow.
Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz will start alongside him on the second row, with Aston Martin‘s Fernando Alonso in fifth.
Expectations were high that Alonso could challenge for pole after a stellar showing during testing and the practice sessions, but the Spaniard remains in contention for a solid result during the Grand Prix.