Toto Wolff says the performance the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team showed during the Bahrain Grand Prix proved that they were only the third quickest team, with both Scuderia Ferrari and Oracle Red Bull Racing edging ahead.
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell may have finished third and fourth at the Bahrain International Circuit, but this was down to both Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez retiring ahead of them in the final three laps.
Wolff, the Team Principal at Mercedes, says the W13 has potential to be strong but at this stage of the season, the team has yet to unlock that potential.
“The new F1 season started in dramatic fashion,” said Wolff. “There were some great, feel-good stories up and down the field at the first race and Ferrari did a strong job to claim a 1-2 finish.
“For us, we made a step forward in terms of performance compared to the pre-season tests but were clearly third quickest behind Ferrari and Red Bull. We know the W13 has potential, and we need to continue learning, find out how to unlock it, and maximise our opportunities for points in the meantime.
“Lewis did a fantastic job to claim P3 and George drove a strong and mature race, making up places to finish P4. We scored the maximum points we could and more than we were expecting to. That’s partly down to others’ misfortune but reliability has always been a crucial factor in Formula 1.”
Wolff says the team are looking forward to the next challenge presenting itself, which comes in the form of this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, a much different track to what they experienced last weekend in Bahrain.
“Now we head to Jeddah and a very different track; fast, twisty and much of the lap taken at full throttle,” he said. “We were there just a few months ago for the first Formula One race in Saudi Arabia, and with a new car and new tyres that we’re still learning how to get the most from, it will be a steep learning curve.
“That’s a challenge we’re looking forward to!”