Despite Mercedes’ first win of the season, they know that their advantage over Red Bull is completely gone.
The victory was due solely to Hamilton and the team’s strategy, Mercedes claimed. It is also known that the great time of the German team is “over” and that the teams are getting closer again.
Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said:
“We don’t really have any strengths relative to them. We’ve had a lot of years where we’ve been able to rely on straight-line speed, or high-speed cornering or interconnecting corners. But you look at it here and we weren’t taking any time out of them anywhere.
The dominance of Mercedes has shaped the last few years in Formula 1 and made the opposing teams “look old.”
After the pre-season test, Mercedes’s fears that they wouldn’t have a competitive car didn’t really work out, because they still took the win, even though Red Bull looked much faster.
But even if there are many arguments for a very tight season, we know from the past that Mercedes often looked bad at the start of the season and didn’t have the necessary pace.
In 2018, Mercedes didn’t win any of the first four races, as both Ferrari and Red Bull challenged them, but in the end, they still won the world championship in both the constructors and the drivers.
Shovlin knows that too, but he still doesn’t want to underestimate Red Bull and he knows that Mercedes still has a lot of work to do to keep up with the Austrians:
“We’ve had some tough years in the past few seasons, this is not alien to us and is what we’ve got to work with,” he said. “It’s two teams that look to be pretty much neck and neck at the moment. I think it’s going to be a tough year. There’s no doubt Red Bull operate really well. They’re a sharp, well-focused team that don’t make many mistakes. […]
“They’ve shown over every season they’ve got the capacity to put a lot of performance on the car. So, regardless of the start point, this is not going to be an easy championship. It’s going to be tight and it’s one we’re not going to give up on. And they’re going to tell you the same.”