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Lewis Hamilton expecting 'tough' weekend at the Bahrain GP after practice struggles

Mercedes seemingly left behind by Lotus, Red Bull and Ferrari

By Pete Gill.   Last Updated: 25/04/13 11:59am

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Lewis Hamilton has admitted Mercedes are facing up to their least competitive weekend of the season in Bahrain after struggling for speed and tyre consistency during Friday's practice sessions.

The 2008 title winner was unable to keep pace with the frontrunners in either Practice outing, with Hamilton eventually consigned to just eighth place in the end-of-day timesheets - nearly a second slower than pace-setter Kimi Raikkonen.

Unlike the Lotus, which impressed on both long and short runs, the W04 seems particularly unsuited to the characteristics of the Sakhir circuit, leaving Hamilton braced for what is likely to be a trying few days in the desert.

"It looks like it is going to be a tough weekend for us," Lewis told Sky Sports News. "We need to find time, but I don't know where we are losing it."

To compound Hamilton's frustration, not only did he struggle to put together a quick lap, but he also suffered a sharp drop-off in time on his long runs as the extreme heat hurt his Pirelli tyres.

"The heat is so hard on the tyres that the degradation gets very tricky and definitely we are struggling compared to some of the others," he added.

The 28-year-old, who has never won at Sakhir, conceded the team may have headed in the wrong direction on set-up.

"We have changed the set-up of the car to what we thought would suit this track but we need to look at that and make sure it is the right direction to go," he suggested.

"We're not as far off as we might look today but there is a lot of hard work ahead and it will be a tough battle for us this weekend."

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