Despite seeing Mercedes AMG Petronas produce another one-two, team boss Toto Wolff knows they got lucky in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton scored his 74th career Formula One victory, his first of the season and third at Bahrain International Circuit.
We’re walking away with 43 points but it is clear that we were very fortunate and that it was our reliability, not our pace that won us the raceTeam boss Toto Wolff
Hamilton beat Brackley team-mate Valtteri Bottas after first-time pole-sitter Charles Leclerc experienced late-race issues with his Scuderia Ferrari before holding on for a podium position.
Wolff said: “Lewis drove a strong race and managed to stay close to [Sebastian] Vettel and win that battle on track, which was one of the key moments for the victory.
“Valtteri had a tougher day in the office, he was struggling with the tyres on the very abrasive asphalt in Bahrain.
“We’re walking away with 43 points but it is clear that we were very fortunate and that it was our reliability, not our pace that won us the race.
“We are lacking straight line speed which is very important in China. So we need to stick our heads together and analyse why we were struggling with our pace both in qualifying and in the race.
“It’s a very close fight and we need to make sure to bring our A game in order to be competitive in Shanghai.”
Hamilton sympathised with Leclerc and said: “We were very lucky to get the one-two, Ferrari outperformed us all weekend.
“Ultimately you want to have a real fight and want to pass someone because you’re quicker, so it feels a bit weird and you can’t quite believe your luck in these scenarios. I have been in similar situations and I know how it feels.
“We’ve only had two races; one where we were rapid and far ahead, one where Ferrari had the upper hand.
“It’s hard to say how the next races are going to pan out, but I anticipate that it will be a tough fight and that it will be a back and forth between the two teams. We need to keep working hard to see where we went wrong this weekend and to see where we can improve the car.
“But as we saw again today, reliability also plays an important role, so we need to keep working on all areas.”
Bottas added: “The car was very difficult to drive and the conditions were very tricky with the gusty winds which made the car very unpredictable. Ferrari were very strong again in the race as they were all weekend.
“But luck was on our side, which was a welcome change for me personally after all the bad luck I experienced last year. We’re leaving Bahrain with lots of points but also a lot of work to do for China.”