SAKHIR, Bahrain — Mercedes boss Toto Wolff described his team’s result at the Bahrain Grand Prix as “one of the worst days in racing” after Lewis Hamilton finished 50 seconds adrift of race winner Max Verstappen.
Red Bull barely pushed the limit of its two cars on the way to a dominant 1-2 victory at the opening round of the season, while Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso passed Hamilton on track before securing third place ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. Sergio Perez was second in Sunday’s race.
Mercedes finished fifth with Hamilton and seventh with George Russell, while never looking in contention for victory throughout the race weekend.
“One of the worst days in racing,” Wolff told Sky Sports when asked to sum up the race. “Really not good at all — we were just lacking pace front, right and centre.
“That’s the reflection of the [preseason] testing — the Aston Martin is very fast and they deserve that. Red Bull is just on a different planet.”
Wolff, who said Saturday his team would have to completely change its car concept to fight for championships again, said the gap to Red Bull was the biggest concern for him in Bahrain.
“That is what hurts because they are so far ahead it reminds me of our best years when we would just put a second on everybody else,” added Wolff.
“That is the benchmark, but we need to just put one step after another to just come back and we can do that.”
Speaking to media later on Sunday, Wolff said there was no point in trying to hide from the problems Mercedes faces with its car.
“I’m not bulls—-ing myself and I’m not bulls—-ing the media,” he said. “I have always been transparent and honest.
“What I’m saying here is how I feel right now. I’m not overreacting; the gap is very big and in order to catch up we need to make big steps. Not conventional ones.”
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