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Pecking order to emerge only after four races - Hamilton


Lewis Hamilton believes a clear view of the order among the front-runners will only start to emerge after Formula 1's first four fly-away races.

Mercedes snatched defeat from the jaws of victory last weekend in Melbourne, with the outperforming Silver Arrows squad handing a sure win to Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel following a software calculation error.

Hamilton's pace un qualifying and his subsequent commanding lead on Sunday point to the German outfit's clear advantage.

The four-time world champion is cautious however and has vowed to wait a few more races before suggesting a pecking order. In the interim, competition at the front will be close according to the Brit.

"From my experience, you don't really get a good understanding until after four races," said Hamilton.

"Right now, it's just the first race - I have no idea.

"We go to Bahrain and there's going to be ups and downs. Ferrari are really quick on the straights, they are going to be rapid in the next race, and they are always good when it comes to hot circuits.

"Bahrain, even though it's a night race, is still tough on the tyres. So I really have no idea - but I can tell you it's not going to be easy and it's going to be close."


Forecasting a fierce battle ahead, with both Ferrari and Red Bull Racing, Hamilton underlined the crucial necessity for team mate Valtteri Bottas to hold his own this season in order for Mercedes to oppose a solid front to its rivals.

"The Finn's mishap in qualifying in Melbourne unfortunately put a top-three finish out of his reach.

"It was one against two and it's not easy to fight against a team that has two cars in the mix compared to one," said Hamilton.

"But I think we'll work together and Valtteri will be working very hard to make sure he's in the mix and fighting with us as well.

"He's going to be fighting for wins this year and it won't always be as it is [in Australia].

"Last year it was important to have both cars up there and now it's shown that it's even more important, especially with Red Bull being there and both Ferrari drivers."