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Lewis Hamilton has claimed Mercedes "did not listen" to him over the development of their underperforming F1 car.
The seven-time world champion has voiced his frustration at being ignored by his Silver Arrows team after a shocking start to the new season at the Bahrain Grand Prix. It was a disastrous opening weekend for Hamilton, who saw Max Verstappen cruise to victory in the unstoppable Red Bull, while he finished over 50 seconds behind his old rival in fifth place.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff lamented 'one of his worst days in racing' as Hamilton's fears that his team were "on the wrong track" were realised at the Sakhir circuit.
READ MORE: Fernando Alonso has savage radio message as he passes Carlos Sainz to take third place
The legendary Brit had already raised concerns over the new 2023 model before lights out on Sunday, and has now doubled down on the damning criticism of his team.
"Last year, there were things I told them. I said the issues that are with the car," he said on BBC Radio 5 Live's Chequered Flag podcast.
"I've driven so many cars in my life. I know what a car needs. I know what a car doesn't need. I think it's really about accountability.
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"It's about owning up and saying, 'Yeah, you know what? We didn't listen to you. It's not where it needs to be and we've got to work'.
"We've got to look into the balance through the corners, look at all the weak points, and just huddle up as a team. That's what we do."
"We're still [multiple] world champions, you know? Just haven't got it right this time. Didn't get it right last year. But that doesn't mean we can't get it right moving forwards."
Mercedes worked tirelessly on their new W14 challenger to close the gap on Red Bull this season, but Hamilton's teammate George Russell is also already resigned to defeat.
"Red Bull have got this championship sewn up," Russell said after finishing seventh in Bahrain. "I don't think anyone will be fighting with them this year. They should win every single race this year, is my bet.
"They've got it easy at the moment. "They can do what they like. They might not be on pole all the time because we know Ferrari are very competitive in qualifying, but when it comes to race pace, they're in a very strong position."
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- Lewis Hamilton
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