Wolff expecting a much stiffer task

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas gave Mercedes AMG Petronas the perfect start to the season
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas gave Mercedes AMG Petronas the perfect start to the season

Despite the perfect start to the season, Mercedes AMG Petronas Team boss Toto Wolff is taking nothing for granted.

Valtteri Bottas made a winning start to the season in Australia where Brackley team-mate and world champion Lewis Hamilton was second.

We will see a very different race in Bahrain, where the weekend presents unique challenges, especially the change in conditions between the sessions

Team boss Toto Wolff

Wolff said: “Claiming the maximum 44 points race from the first race was a fantastic result, we could not have asked for a better start to the season.

“But the fight has only just begun. Ferrari will try everything they can to hit back and Melbourne showed that Red Bull will have something to say in the fight, too.

“We’ve seen the potential of Ferrari’s package in Barcelona, so we expect them to come back strong in Bahrain, with Red Bull in the mix as well.”

And Wolff is expecting a much different race this weekend in Bahrain to the season opener in Australia.

He added: “We will see a very different race in Bahrain, where the weekend presents unique challenges, especially the change in conditions between the sessions.

“FP1 and FP3 take place in the middle of the day when both the air and the track can be very hot. FP2, qualifying and the race on the other hand are held in the evening in considerably cooler temperatures.

“These temperature swings make it very tricky to set up the car and find the right configuration for the sessions that really count.

“After the Barcelona test, we felt that we were the challengers. Whatever the Melbourne result says, our mind-set hasn’t changed since then. One race doesn’t determine the pecking order for the rest of the season.

“We need to extract every bit of performance from our package and keep on working hard to improve the car to be competitive. We’ve had some great racing in Bahrain, so I’m looking forward to an exciting weekend.”