Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said it will be “very difficult” for the team to recover its deficit to Red Bull despite Lewis Hamilton winning the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Bahrain saw an action-packed race for the lead, with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton fighting it out for the victory. The British driver took it only because Verstappen’s overtake for the lead in the latter stages of the race was illegal. If not, the story would have been different.
“If somebody would have told me that this is going to be the result on Sunday, I would have probably not believed it,” said Toto Wolff talking about Hamilton’s win. “But we recovered well from the [pre-season] test. Still, to give you 100% honesty, we are still lacking pace in qualifying and quite a bit.
“And today, I think we were competitive. We are definitely competitive. And the strategy made all the difference. We took a bold move [at the] beginning, gained track position. And then at the end, the racing God was on our side.”
Wolff also mentioned that being fout tenths off Red Bull is a gap “very difficult” to recover, as we saw on qualifying.
“Yes, we were four-tenths off in qualifying and that’s quite a gap and very difficult to recover. We knew that they have a good race car, whether it is enough to reduce that gap wasn’t very clear. And we need to understand why – why our car was in a happy place today set-up wise, tire wise, and not in the previous days,” he explained.
Wolff also mentioned Red Bull will be “extremely difficult to beat,” as their pace in Bahrain, a track which is not a favorite for Red Bull, was much faster than theirs.
“Bahrain was always not the strongest race for Red Bull, and also they haven’t been particularly good out of the blocks, and this weekend shows that all that is not the case anymore in 2021.
“So I have no doubt that they are extremely difficult to beat. They are the ones that are leading the pack. And I think today the racing Gods were on our side.
“It’s not that we have found suddenly some awesome performance. It was a combination of great strategy, a solid race car, and then just being fortunate at the end,” Wolff concluded.