Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the mindset of his Formula 1 team has not shifted despite its emphatic start to the 2019 season. 

Valtteri Bottas led home a dominant Mercedes 1-2 finish at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix to hand the German manufacturer the perfect start to its title defence, with the team bidding to make history by becoming the first F1 squad to claim six consecutive double world championships. 

Mercedes had labelled Ferrari as the early favourites heading into 2019, though its strong pre-season display did not translate on-track in Melbourne as the Scuderia could only manage a distant fourth and fifth place. 

Five questions that need answering in F1 2019

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“After the Barcelona test, we felt that we were the challengers,” Wolff said in the team’s preview ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix. 

“Whatever the Melbourne result says, our mindset hasn't changed since then. One race doesn't determine the pecking order for the rest of the season. 

“We need to extract every bit of performance from our package and keep on working hard to improve the car over the weekend to be competitive. 

“We've had some great racing in recent years in Bahrain, so I'm looking forward to an exciting weekend.”

Ferrari insisted its performance in Australia did not represent a true reflection of the "real potential" of its SF90 F1 car and remains confident of a turnaround in Bahrain, with Wolff also backing Mercedes’ chief rival to “hit back”. 

“Claiming the maximum 44 points race from the first race was a fantastic result, we could not have asked for a better start to the season,” Wolff added. 

“But the fight has only just begun: Ferrari will try everything they can to hit back and Melbourne showed that Red Bull will have something to say in the fight, too. 

“We've seen the potential of Ferrari's package in Barcelona, so we expect them to come back strong in Bahrain, with Red Bull in the mix as well. We will see a very different race in Bahrain.”



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