Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton captured maximum points in the Formula One opener Down Under with a 1-2 finish, but Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Team Principal Toto Wolff stressed that the challenge ahead remains the same heading into the year’s second event.
“After the Barcelona test, we felt that we were the challengers,” Wolff said. “Whatever the Melbourne result says, our mindset 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 over the weekend to be competitive. We’ve had some great racing in recent years in Bahrain, so I’m looking forward to an exciting weekend.
“Claiming the maximum 44 points 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.”
Bottas and Hamilton combined for a double podium in last year’s event at the Bahrain International Circuit — Bottas finishing runner-up, one spot ahead of his teammate. The Finn has reached the podium at Bahrain in every season since joining Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport.
Hamilton has been on the rostrum for the past five seasons, including a pair of back-to-back wins in 2014 and 2015.
“Whatever the Melbourne result says, our mindset hasn’t changedTOTO WOLFF
“We will see a very different race in Bahrain, where the weekend presents unique challenges, especially the change in conditions between the sessions,” Wolff said. “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.”