The four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel, thinks Mercedes will come back stronger after the pre-season testing problems that prevented them to cover many laps.
Mercedes did not have the best of the weekends in Bahrain during pre-season testing. Both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas admitted they were struggling to find a good balance with the car. Moreover, the Silver Arrows also encountered reliability issues, for instance, a gearbox problem on the first day of testing.
Despite Mercedes now seems to be far away behind Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel thinks that the Silver Arrows will be back in the fight by the time of the first race.
“It’s probably fair to say that Mercedes didn’t have the mileage miracle that they had in the last years,” explained Vettel, who has switched to Mercedes customer team Aston Martin this year. “But then again, I’m sure that they will be alright at the first race. And Red Bull is doing what they are supposed to do: challenging. So I think it will be either Mercedes or Red Bull.”
The German driver also had some problems with his Aston Martin. Like Mercedes, he was forced to stay in the box due to a gearbox failure. However, he said that the issue has nothing to do with the one that the German team had.
“The power unit is indeed the Mercedes one and the gearbox is supplied by Mercedes, but still it’s installed into our car so there’s a lot of components that sort of mix at some stage,” said Vettel. “I don’t know to be honest right now where the source of the problem was, we need to get to the bottom of it. Ultimately it will be more on one side or the other side, but it doesn’t matter. It needs to be fixed and addressed.
“But, as I said, you work together because whatever you acquire from outside, you still need to put it in your car and make it work.”