Wolff says Mercedes matching Red Bull is the “best possible scenario”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff believes the “best possible scenario” for Mercedes right now is if they are on the same pace with Red Bull.

Red Bull has been the top team in pre-season testing when it comes to performance, and this has continued into the Bahrain Grand Prix first free practice. In FP1 Max Verstappen topped the timesheets, while Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were second and fourth respectively.

Toto Wolff believes that at the moment Mercedes can be happy is they are equal to Red Bull in terms of pace.

“Formula 1 is like many other sports, we are oscillating between depression and exuberance,” said the Austrian.

“When everything is perfect you think ‘here we go, this is ours’. But then when you have a few days that are not very good you kind of look at the data and say how should we ever catch that up.

“So this is what it is, and I think if we are behind, then we just need to catch up and do good job. If we are just about on the same pace, which I would consider today maybe is the best possible scenario for us, then we’re up for the fight with another great team.”


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Wolff also believes the changes made to Formula 1 regulations in 2021 impacted Mercedes more than Red Bull.

“Even if it looks like it was a carry forward car, I think we probably suffered more with the change of regulations than the cars with the higher rake.

“And the Red Bull has followed that concept since many years. It has been more difficult for us to recover some of the lost downforce.

“But so far from what I have seen and hope, is that we can have a really tough fight. This is what the fans want to see, and what we would like to have.

“Red Bull is a formidable team, with people pushing really hard. They have won four championships before the hybrid power units came in, and no doubt they are the strongest competitor.”

Speaking of regulations, Lewis Hamilton was asked if he thought the changes were purposefully introduced to slow down Mercedes.

“Time will naturally tell, but I think it’s a defeatist attitude and we don’t look it at that way,” Hamilton explained to Sky Sports F1.

“We look at the situation as glass half full and the guys are working flat-out at the factory, and us here, just so we understand and try to get the car in its sweet spot.

“Whether that’s a wide or small window or smaller than last year, we’re yet to fully understand, but we’re in the same position as everyone in that sense,” concluded the Briton.

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