Toto Wolff has insisted Red Bull is still the team to beat in Formula 1 despite Mercedes winning the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

After storming to pole position by over 0.3s, Max Verstappen was the heavy favourite going into the race in Bahrain.

An aggressive strategy from Mercedes allowed Lewis Hamilton to take track position ahead of Verstappen, meaning the Dutchman had to overtake the seven-time champion on-track if he was to win the race.

Verstappen was unable to make a move stick, having been forced to give the position back after overtaking Hamilton off the track at Turn 4.

Reflecting on his team’s win in Bahrain, Wolff believed the ‘racing Gods’ were on Mercedes’ side.

“If somebody would have told me that this was going to be the result on Sunday I would probably have not believed it," Wolff said after the race in Bahrain. "But we recovered well from the test.

“Still if we are 100 percent honest with ourselves we are still lacking pace in qualifying and quite a bit. Today I think we were competitive. We were definitely competitive and the strategy made all the difference.

“We made a bold move at the beginning, gained track position and then at the end the racing God was on our side.”

Red Bull hasn’t won in Bahrain since 2013 and Wolff is confident its impressive turn of pace in the opening round of the season is ominous for the rest of the campaign. 

“In the past, Bahrain has not been a strong race for Red Bull and they have not been particularly good out of the blocks either, but this weekend shows that in 2021, that is no longer the case,” Wolff added.

“I have no doubt they are extremely difficult to beat and are leading the pack.”

 

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