Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has hailed the Silver Arrows’ strategy calls in the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix, saying they made “all the difference” in Sir Lewis Hamilton’s triumph over the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
Verstappen was favourite to win the 2021 season-opener after he took pole position by almost four-tenths of a second on Saturday – and the Red Bull RB16B was also believed to have better long-run pace than the Mercedes W12.
However, with Mercedes having two cars against Verstappen upfront, they were able to utilise undercuts and experiment with their strategy
Speaking after the race, Wolff said he believes strategy was key to Hamilton beating Verstappen in Bahrain.
“If somebody had predicted this would be the result on Sunday, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Wolff said.
“If you are 100 percent honest with yourself, we are still lacking pace in qualifying. Today we were definitely competitive, and the strategy made all the difference.
“We made a bold call in the beginning to take track position and the lead of the race, then at the end the racing gods were on our side.”
Continuing, the Austrian said that despite Red Bull not winning the season-opener, their performance at Bahrain indicates they will be “extremely difficult” to beat this season.
“Bahrain was never the strongest race for Red Bull and they have never traditionally been the quickest out the blocks, so after today I have no doubt that they are going to be extremely difficult to beat in 2021.
“We have a real fight on our hands – and we’re all excited about the prospect of a really close battle for these Championships!”