Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says Mercedes was lacking straight-line speed compared to Formula 1 rivals Ferrari during qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix. 

Having bounced back from a disappointing performance at the season-opener in Melbourne, Ferrari continued to dominate proceedings in Bahrain as Charles Leclerc headed a Scuderia front-row lock-out. 

Mercedes had struggled to match Ferrari’s pace all weekend and following the conclusion of qualifying, Wolff admitted the reigning world champions are losing out on the straights. 

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“We are lacking in straight-line speed at the moment,” Wolff told Sky Sports.

“Whether this is drag or power, we need to analyse. Obviously this is not great for the race either, overtaking will be an option tomorrow but you need a fast car on the straights.” 

Wolff revealed Mercedes began its analysis into the apparent deficit while qualifying was still going on. 

“For sure it’s a combination of the two and that post-mortem started mid-qualifying when we realised that we are lacking the speed and we take the analysis from there,” Wolff added. 

Mercedes had trailed Ferrari by a large margin for much of the weekend but Lewis Hamilton managed to close to within 0.324s of Leclerc’s pole time in Q3, with the Briton less than a tenth behind Sebastian Vettel in third. 

Asked if the final gap was closer than expected, Wolff replied: “No I think it was what we expected after the practice sessions. 

“It’s a bit of a disappointment because it’s a gap and we need to analyse where that comes from. On long runs we were doing OK, I think that looked good.”