Toto Wolff maintains the rise of Ferrari as potential title contenders for this year's F1 world championship is a motivation to Mercedes, despite the bitterness of being beaten to victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

A series of 'marginal losses' - including generator issues leaving pole man Valtteri Bottas with excessive tyre pressures and a five-second penalty for Lewis Hamilton for slowing unnecessarily in the pit-lane - played their part, but Mercedes accepts its faces a formidable contender with the Ferrari in Sebastian Vettel's hands.

A new challenge for Mercedes after three years of almost total dominance in F1, while the team's success in China shows it is still very much on a par with its rival's newfound form, he is disappointing three poles from three races has only yielded a single win.

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Losing feels much worse than winning feels great, unfortunately that is at the moment it feels really wrong. Bouncing back and winning feels even better, and we have enjoyed winning in China, a lot, and in hindsight it's a good motivation as well.

"Probably for Formula 1 it's good as well if there's a fight between Ferrari and Mercedes, so we have to see it like sportsmen, we have a fight that's on and that is how it is, even though it feels s**t right now!"

Discussing whether he feels Mercedes is ready to fend off its first outward foe in the fight for this year's title, Wolff is expecting the team to react well to the new challenges.

"In the last three years we had an internal fight of course you set your mindset in that direction and this is a new situation which I'm sure the team will handle well. I'm seeing positives, change of regulations, and we're in the fight for race wins and we're in the fight for the titles at the moment you can say that, but I think there's just generally good news."
ANALYSIS: Honda's turn to be angry, Kimi feeling the heat and good news for Sauber - it's the Bahrain GP Debrief