Could this season mark the end of the Mercedes dominance? Toto Wolff seems to think so

The ‘silver arrows’ won every drivers’ and constructors’ championships since the hybrid era began in 2014

By Olivia Kairu
@KairuOlivia

“Red Bull are the ones that are leading the pack,” said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff to F1.com (Photo: Mercedes/Twitter)

At first glance, the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix podium may have seemed to be reminiscent of the previous season, with the frequent appearance of Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas making its return. Look again and you’ll notice the podium trio’s resurgence carries a different storyline than that of previous races. 

Red Bull seems to have taken the lead as the fastest car in F1 given their pace in Bahrain, both in the pre-season testing and the Grand Prix weekend.

“They are the ones that are leading the pack,” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said to F1.com.

“The racing gods were on our side and that’s why (we won the Bahrain Grand Prix). It’s not that we have found suddenly some awesome performance. It was a combination of great strategy, a solid race car, and then just being fortunate at the end.”

Talking about the nail-biting race he ended up winning, Lewis Hamilton was taken aback by Red Bull’s performance. “It’s going to take everything and more for us to put in performances like this. This has got to have started off as one of the toughest, if not the toughest of seasons,” said the seven-time world champion to F1.com. 

Race days don’t seem to be the end of Mercedes’s troubles. “(Red Bull) were four-tenths off in qualifying and that’s quite a gap and very difficult to recover,” said Wolff.

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin also chimed in when speaking to journalist Tom Clarkson in an FIA media session after the race.

“We don’t really have any strengths relative to them-is what I would say-and we’ve had a lot of years where we’ve been able to rely on straight-line speed or high-speed cornering or interconnected corners. But you look at it here (in Bahrain) and we weren’t taking any time out of them anywhere,” he said.

The ‘silver arrows’ won every drivers’ and constructors’ championships since the hybrid era began in 2014, setting the record for the biggest streak in F1 history for each trophy.

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