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Hamilton shocked by Mercedes pace after 'CRAZY Friday' (on Thursday)

Hamilton shocked by Mercedes pace after 'CRAZY Friday' (on Thursday)

Hamilton shocked by Mercedes pace after 'CRAZY Friday' (on Thursday)

Hamilton shocked by Mercedes pace after 'CRAZY Friday' (on Thursday)

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton appeared bewildered by his Mercedes' pace in practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Hamilton and George Russell were the two fastest drivers in FP2, putting small but potentially significant gaps between themselves and the rest of the field.

This was despite all of the pre-weekend chat pointing to Max Verstappen and Red Bull continuing their supreme dominance from 2023.

Verstappen could only manage sixth in both FP1 and FP2, while his team-mate Sergio Perez was even further off the pace, finishing 10th and 12th in the two sessions.

It is unclear quite what fuel setting Red Bull were running compared to their competitors and any optimism should be caveated by the fact that Red Bull looked ominous during pre-season testing.

READ MORE: F1 Times Today: Bahrain Grand Prix practice results - Hamilton top as Verstappen STRUGGLES

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Hamilton himself isn't taking anything for granted, knowing it is very unlikely his Mercedes team can sustain a real challenge to Red Bull in 2024, his last season with the Brackley-based outfit.

"This was a crazy Friday," he told Sky Sports, clearly confused by the change in structure of the weekend.

"I was late this morning. I was surprised it was very very windy this morning so it was a really difficult session I think for everyone, the track was so different from there to the test last week.

"We made some improvements over the session. I don't understand, it's a shock to see us where we are but we'll take it for now. We need to keep our heads down, keep working on the set-up and try and extract more."

READ MORE: F1 Bahrain Grand Prix weather forecast - strong winds to impact event

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