Toto Wolff makes Mercedes admission that will alarm Max Verstappen

Mercedes ended the first day of pre-season testing outside the top five, with the likes of Aston Martin and McLaren having gone faster.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has revealed that the Silver Arrows are “still hiding” some of their true pace, with the side having been well behind Red Bull during the opening day and a half of pre-season testing.

Pre-season testing so far at the Bahrain International Circuit has been largely positive for Mercedes, with Wolff having been pleased to reveal after the opening day that porpoising is not a concern for the Germans this season.

Whilst the leaderboard is somewhat irrelevant, it couldn’t be missed that Mercedes were a comfortable distance behind the leading times; however, Wolff revealed after the opening day more is yet to come from the Brackley-based team.

“Yeah we are still hiding a little bit. I think you need to wait for the three days running also whether the softer tyres come onto the car in the afternoon which are more representative conditions for Bahrain,” Wolff said.

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Red Bull were the early pacesetters in Bahrain and looked very impressive, with it looking like they once again have the best package ahead of the forthcoming season.

Wolff wasn’t shocked to see the Austrians being as quick as they were but isn’t reading into their pace too much just yet, with everything being “very difficult to judge”.

“They are fast, no surprise there. It’s very difficult to judge at that stage,” added Wolff.

“Everyone is playing around with fuel loads and it’s a little bit hiding on engine modes so you can’t really judge.”

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Mercedes can be very pleased by the impressive number of laps they completed across the first half of pre-season testing, with it suggesting that the Germans have once again designed a reliable car.

However, grip does appear to be a concern, with Lewis Hamilton having been seen laying down substantial rubber when exiting certain corners.

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Wolff admits that grip is an issue and that it’s an area they “need to sort out”.

“Yeah it definitely is because it’s not the driver who is always driving the tyres and pushing it,” admitted Wolff.

“It is the car that doesn’t give him enough grip from the rear so this is something we need to sort out over the course of the journey today.”