Mercedes' Toto Wolff admits Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were 'left with no weapons to defend with' in the closing stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix after both suffered a failure of the brake-by-wire failure in the final laps.

Hamilton clinched his third win in four races with a lights to flag victory around the Bahrain International Circuit, but did so despite the brakes failing as he came into the final lap. Only a lap earlier, an identical problem would strike Rosberg, though his failure would allow Kimi Raikkonen to snatch second.

Blaming overheating in traffic and hard passes for the failures, Wolff reveals it was a change to the set-up that would compromise the brakes and very nearly prompt a catastrophic miscalculation.

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"We saw very hot brakes on Nico's car in traffic following Sebastian before with lots of hard braking," he said. "Then we monitored that, but with the backmarkers and the lapping cars those brake temperatures went through the roof and we had a brake-by-wire failure on both cars in the same corner.

"Leading into the last lap it was under hard braking on the straight that the temperatures went sky high and when that happens the brake-by-wire switches into the conventional system and then you are without weapons to defend.

"It is because of set-up issues and we knew the changes we made on the car were compromising a little bit the brake temperatures. We knew what we were doing.

"It was a hard race with lots of overtaking, especially in Nico's side and then both cars struggled to make it through the backmarkers at the end of the race. The minute you follow another car or a couple of cars, the airstream collapses and this is why it made the brakes go."

Despite the issues, first and third sees Mercedes increase its lead in the constructors' standings to 52 points over Ferrari.