If Mercedes AMG Petronas didn’t already know it, they do now.
They are in real fight for the FIA F1 World Constructors Championship with Ferrari and, on the back of Sebastian Vettel’s victory in Bahrain, team boss Toto Wolff knows the Brackley outfit will have to up their game.
The race reminded us once again that we are in a very different competitive situation this yearTeam boss Toto Wolff
Lewis Hamilton finished second behind Vettel with Valtteri Bottas in third.
Wolff said: “The race reminded us once again that we are in a very different competitive situation this year, racing against Ferrari, and I am confident that this is a challenge we will rise to as one team.
“After a winter of massive regulation change, we have been in the hunt for race wins at every weekend and that is the big positive for us. But Sunday was another reminder that we need to get everything right in order to deliver.”
Hamilton, who incurred a five-second penalty for an infringement in the pit lane, said: It’s been a challenging weekend. The start of the race was okay but Sebastian [Vettel] was in my blind spot so I didn’t know where he was and I lost a position there.
“It was really hard to follow but we generally had similar pace. Under the safety car, I just misjudged it myself the situation; that was my fault.
“I had good pace in the second and final stints and we honestly thought we could catch Sebastian. But the five-second penalty made that twice as hard.”
Bottas added: “The pace wasn’t good and Sebastian [Vettel] put us under real pressure. I tried to extend the first stint but I couldn’t keep up with the pace.
“The second stint was better but I was still struggling with over-steer and then I couldn’t get the rear-end to work in the last stint. I had some good racing with Sebastian after the restart but unfortunately it was just for a short moment.”