Toto Wolff has offered a candid assessment of Mercedes’ performance across the weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, acknowledging that the early Red Bull riders are “on a different planet”.
Mercedes entered 2023 aiming to right the wrongs of the W13 with a revised – albeit committed – W14 The concept of “lateral zero” – but found themselves behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin in the standings at the season opener.
Read more: ‘We’re fourth fastest team now’ – Hamilton gives Mercedes honest assessment as he admits team ‘falling backwards’
With Lewis Hamilton and George Russell home in fifth and seventh at Sakhir, nearly a minute clear of race winner Max Verstappen and a furlong behind Fernando Alonso’s third-placed Aston Martin, Mercedes boss Wolff is left to contemplate where his team goes from here.
“Well, one of the worst days of racing – really not good at all. We just lacked pace front, right and center. That’s the reflection of the tests. Aston Martin is so fast, they deserve it, Red Bull is on a different planet,” Wolff told Sky. Sports Formula 1.
Given the dominant nature of Red Bull’s 1-2 result, Wolff added: “I think that’s what hurts, because they are so far ahead. It reminds me of our best years as we put a second [per lap] Everyone have to.
“It’s the norm, but we need to put in step by step to get back in, and we can do that — we certainly can.”
When asked about Mercedes’ development plan, and whether it was just a case of waiting for a rumored update at the sixth round of the season at Imola, Wolff added: “No, I think it has to be more radical – much more radical in the steps rather than just hoping for a three-tenths upgrade.” “.
Read more: Mercedes brought back to reality says Russell after P7 finish in Bahrain
One of Wolff’s positive results, though, was from the 2023 opener Hamilton’s post-race radio message To boost morale in the Mercedes camp, the seven-time world champion said “I believe in all of you” as the team looked to make up ground.
“He shows leadership. There must be a lot of suffering, because the car is very unstable, but he’s great,” said Wolff, before the duo embraced in the Mercedes garage.
Mercedes left Bahrain in third place Creators rankingbehind Red Bull and Aston Martin, but ahead of Ferrari after Charles Leclerc retired from the podium.
‘It was a fun race, we’re just not fast enough’ – mixed feelings for Hamilton after P5 season opener
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