Toto Wolff is expecting a close battle at the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix as Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport aim to bounce back from missing out on victory in Melbourne because of a team mistake.
Mercedes lost out to Sebastian Vettel and Scuderia Ferrari in Australia due to a bug in their software system let the German jump Lewis Hamilton during the virtual safety car period.
“We suspected that the new season would be close fought and the first race confirmed those suspicions.” Said Wolff. “We made mistakes and did not perform to our maximum – and it reminded us that this is the toughest racing series in the world, where every error is punished.
“It hurt to leave all those points on the table, especially because we know we had the pace to win in Australia. Back at base, we did what we always do after a tough weekend.
“We made sure that we understand what went wrong and put a process in place to make sure that we don’t see a similar issue in the future.
“These painful moments are the real learning experiences.
“Mistakes become training.”
Vettel triumphed over Mercedes in Bahrain last year despite Valtteri Bottas securing his first pole position in the sport and Wolff is aware of the challenges Bahrain presents to the teams, partly down to the timing of sessions.
“We expect Bahrain to be another challenging weekend, although the challenges will be of a completely different nature.
“The race in the desert is tricky because the conditions change drastically between sessions.
“FP1 and FP3 take place in the heat of the day whereas Qualifying and the race itself take place after sunset so it’s much cooler.
“That makes it extremely difficult to find the right setup with the car.
“Bahrain is also a power-sensitive race with the long straights.
“We saw in Melbourne that the Ferraris in particular were very quick, so I expect it to be a close battle.”
Bahrain was the sight of the first on track battle between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg back in 2014 and Wolff is hoping for some more exciting racing this weekend.
“We’ve seen some great racing in Bahrain in recent years, particularly between our drivers back in 2014, so I think we can look forward to an exciting and competitive weekend.”