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Hamilton happy with second place: ‘Difference is much smaller than expected’ | NOW

Lewis Hamilton can live with his second place in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix. The seven-time world champion was almost four tenths short on Saturday to keep Max Verstappen from pole position, but saw that his team Mercedes had made progress.

“The difference is much smaller than we expected”, Hamilton said on the official Formula 1 site. “We have made a good step forward this weekend. Beforehand we expected the gap to be about twice as big, but the difference is not too bad because of the fantastic work of the men and women at the factory.

Hamilton said after the winter tests that Mercedes was struggling with the W12, but due to the recent dominance of the German team, his statements were questioned.

The 36-year-old Hamilton became six times world champion with Mercedes in the past seven seasons. In 2016 he had to leave the world title to his German teammate Nico Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton had to leave pole position to Max Verstappen on Saturday.

Hamilton: ‘Red Bull has even more up its sleeve’

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A day before the first race of the season, Hamilton has little faith that he can keep Verstappen from winning on Sunday. “It will be very difficult,” said the Briton.

“Usually we see that Red Bull comes out stronger during the race than in qualifying. Maybe we can get a little closer, but I think Red Bull has at least two tenths to hand.”

The Bahrain Grand Prix starts on Sunday at 5 p.m.

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