Despite leading both championships after the opening two rounds of the season with a pair of one-two finishes, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport boss Toto Wolff says the results do not paint the full picture, particularly with how the result of the Bahrain Grand Prix transpired.
Scuderia Ferrari dominated Qualifying at the Sakhir International Circuit and were on course for a dominant victory for Charles Leclerc, only for a mechanical gremlin to hobble to Monegasque racer, denying him his maiden triumph and enabling Lewis Hamilton to lead home Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas for his first win of the season.
“Two races into the 2019 season, it may seem like we’re in a strong position,” said Wolff. “We have 87 points, just one below the maximum score. But the constructors’ standings do not tell the full story.
“The truth is that we weren’t as quick as our direct competitors throughout qualifying and the race in Bahrain. The Ferrari was considerably faster on the straights and this added up to several tenths around one lap.
“Nevertheless, the saying goes that “in order to finish first, first you have to finish” and the combination of solid performances from the team, reliability of our systems and a strong drive from our drivers secured us the one-two.”
Wolff says the challenge ahead of them does not daunt the team and they will continue to push to improve the W10 in order to take the fight to Ferrari, and with the Chinese Grand Prix just around the corner, the Austrian says it is important to keep the pressure on their rivals.
“The challenge we are facing doesn’t daunt us – it’s uplifting,” said Wolff. “We will keep pushing to extract the maximum performance from our package to deliver the best race we can.
“We will try and exert pressure, maximise our opportunities and keep working hard to develop our overall package. We’ve seen exciting races so far this season and we’re looking forward to the next fight in Shanghai.”