Bahrain hasn’t been a cheerful looking floor for Purple Bull within the hybrid period – with 2013 marking the final victory for the group on the circuit. However having come so near profitable the 2021 race, Mercedes Group Principal Toto Wolff was nervous concerning the form of efficiency Purple Bull might unleash at a few of their stronger tracks this season.
Wolff’s Mercedes group might have struck the primary blow within the 2021 championship combat by taking victory over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in Bahrain. Nevertheless it had required all of seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton’s guile and defensive driving genius to win by simply 0.745s from the Dutchman – leaving Wolff in little doubt as to who was within the stronger place initially of the 12 months.
“Bahrain was at all times not the strongest race for Purple Bull and likewise they have not been notably good out of the blocks [at the start of seasons] and this weekend reveals that that isn’t the case anymore in 2021,” mentioned Wolff. “So I’ve little doubt that they’re extraordinarily tough to beat. They’re those that which might be main the pack.
“The racing gods have been on our facet, and that is why [we won],” he added. “It isn’t that now we have discovered immediately some superior efficiency. It was a mix of nice technique, a stable race automobile, after which simply being lucky on the finish.”
Regardless of his concession that Purple Bull have been the stronger group presently, Wolff added that Mercedes have been nonetheless nonetheless “positively aggressive”. However with Verstappen having taken pole from Hamilton in Bahrain by practically four-tenths – roughly reversing the advantage Hamilton had over Verstappen on the 2020 race a couple of months in the past – Wolff mentioned the group’s job was now to recuperate floor to Purple Bull performance-wise within the coming races, notably over one lap.
“We have been four-tenths off in qualifying and that is fairly a spot and really tough to recuperate,” mentioned Wolff. “We’re nonetheless missing tempo in qualifying and fairly a bit.
“I believe we have been aggressive. We’re positively aggressive… and we recovered properly from the take a look at,” added Wolff. “However to provide you 100% honesty, we’re nonetheless missing tempo in qualifying – and fairly a bit.”
Missing tempo they could be – however Mercedes nonetheless left Bahrain on the top of the constructors’ standings, with a 13-point benefit over Purple Bull.