Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said being good this year “won’t be enough” as the field is tightened from 2020, with the Daimler-owned squad struggling to keep up to Red Bull.

Max Verstappen qualified on pole for the Bahrain Grand Prix four tenths ahead of Lewis Hamilton. The Bulls now constitue a real threat to the Silver Arrows and Toto Wolff said he liked the fact of having a “true fight” between them.

“It’s awesome to have a real fight in our hands,” said Wolff at the end of qualifying.

“There’s six different teams between the first ten fatest and is evident this year it won’t be enough with just being good.”

This year’s “transitional” championship into the new 2022 regulations was not thought of being a fierce battle for the championship, with multiple teams saying their efforts on this year were going to be diverted directly into next year; but that might not be the real case after Bahrain, as the reigning champions struggle to keep up with Red Bull, and the mid field is as tight as ever, teams might want to reconsider their decisions to make it a good 2021.

“Today has been better than on testing. I felt much more comfortable during qualifying and at least we’ve been closer to Red Bull than on pre-season,” said Bottas.

“We’ll fight two cars against a Red Bull. Starting in third position is not bad. Looks like the Red Bull has more stability, even more so when there’s wind. We’ve got two cars in the top three, so we still can fight for the victory,” he concluded.

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