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Mercedes will have a “dogfight” with Red Bull in Bahrain, says Toto Wolff

Toto Wolff at the 2021 Bahrain GP. Credits: Daimler.

Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff anticipates a “dogfight” between favorites Red Bull Racing and Mercedes in qualifying and race in Bahrain this weekend.

Mercedes has come to the start of a Formula 1 season as not the clear favorite for the first time in quite a long time. While Mercedes struggled with their car, Red Bull Racing’s performance at the pre-season testing and on Friday showed that they can really be serious competitors for the reigning champions. The Silver Arrows’ boss Toto Wolff believed that there would a big battle between the two teams on Saturday and Sunday.

“The conditions haven’t come towards us. It’s just a real dogfight,” Toto Wolff told Sky Sports F1 on Friday. “When you overlay the fastest laps and even the long runs, it’s just so very close that every kilogram in fuel load can make quite a big swing. So we don’t really know.

At the same time, Wolff expressed his optimism about Mercedes’ progress after the testing earlier in March: “I think we are definitely closer here than we have been in testing. But I wouldn’t know what the position is versus Red Bull.”

Max Verstappen was the fastest driver in both free practices on Friday. Both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were quite close to the Dutch, but did not manage to beat his lap times.

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