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Toto Wolff makes worrying admission for Lewis Hamilton ahead of Bahrain GP

The Mercedes chief is cautious about his team’s chances ahead of the season opener in Sakhir, with everyone on the grid apparently keen to talk down their own chances

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Lewis Hamilton refuses to let controversial end to 2021 season ‘define’ his career

Toto Wolff has admitted that his Mercedes team has no idea exactly how competitive it will be at the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend.

Each team on the grid is being cautious as the curtain is raised on the 2022 Formula 1 season. With a swathe of new technical rules forcing every team to start from scratch in terms of development, no-one can be absolutely sure where they stand compared to their rivals.

The shakedown in Barcelona and three days of testing in Bahrain have helped to shed some light on the situation, with valuable data being collected. Those track days also provided opportunities for teams to trial new ideas, such as when Mercedes dramatically changed the shape of its sidepods before turning up at the track in Sakhir.

But in truth the balance of power remains a mystery for now, and will likely remain that way until several rounds of the season have been completed and the leaderboard begins to take shape. Wolff alluded to that possibility in his official notes ahead of the first Grand Prix weekend of the new season.

“It’s hard to say exactly where we’ll fit in the competitive order this weekend in Bahrain, but that’s what makes this new season and new era so exciting,” said the Austrian. “It’s a clean slate for everyone and all to play for.

“Like we always say, what we love about F1 is that the stopwatch never lies – and we will get our first understanding of the competitive truth on Saturday in qualifying. I’m excited to see what the weekend has in store.”







Toto Wolff has cast doubt on Mercedes’ chances at the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend
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Will Lewis Hamilton take the title back off Max Verstappen in 2022? Have your say in the comments section.

Wolff also spoke about how testing had gone for his team, and what has been learned as drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell prepare for competitive action. While the running time will have been invaluable, the 50-year-old claimed that not all had been smooth sailing for Mercedes during testing.

“The start of a new Formula 1 season is always exciting, and this year more than most,” he wrote. “With new technical and sporting regulations, there is so much to learn and discover as this new season begins.

“Barcelona was a productive first test of the W13, then we brought a big update to Bahrain for the pre-season test which resulted from a huge effort by the whole team. We completed good mileage, had solid reliability, and learned a lot about our new car, but it was not a straightforward three days for us.

“We tried plenty of set-up options and made good progress in understanding our limitations, and there’s still plenty of room for us to improve further. There is a lot of potential to unlock in the W13, and we know how much we relish the challenge of understanding the car and extracting the maximum from it, and this will be our focus for the coming days, weeks and months.”

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