Mercedes is not the only one surprised about its lead in the Constructors’ Championship and also in the Drivers’ Championship after the first two race weekends. Toto Wolff described the first races as a “free ride” for the opponents, which they did not take advantage of.
The difficulties that the world champion team from Germany had before the season made them doubt that they would continue to dominate in 2021. But these “doubts” were quieted at the latest after the first race in Bahrain, where they took the stage win and also another podium. In the second race, however, Max Verstappen won after Lewis Hamilton started on pole but lost it to the Dutchman right after the start.
After two race weekends, the two top teams Mercedes and Red Bull are in a neck-and-neck race for the top spot in Formula 1. Mercedes is ahead of Red Bull in the constructors’ standings with 60 points to 53, while Hamilton is ahead of Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with 44 points to 43.
Toto Wolff, Mercedes team boss, is now accusing Red Bull of failing to give the Austrian team the advantage over Mercedes.
“To come away from Imola leading both championships almost felt like a get out of jail free card, because our rivals didn’t maximize the opportunity, we gave them.”
“Imola was a crazy race and the kind of Grand Prix that lives long in the memory,” added Wolff. “There were so many ups and downs and there were a few moments where it felt like we wouldn’t score any points at all.”
Wolff also stressed that they were not only worried about Red Bull, but also about other teams like Ferrari and McLaren:
“Last year was our first race in Portimao. We’re expecting another close fight with Red Bull, and both McLaren and Ferrari could also be in the mix too.”
“It’s an exciting, undulating track and produced some great racing in 2020 and we also saw in qualifying and the opening laps that getting the tires working properly is not easy. It’s still quite a new circuit for everyone, which should make things interesting and mean we are learning all through the weekend.”