Mercedes was unable to capitalise on its front-row lockout as Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas around the outside of Turn 1 on the opening lap.

The Finn made a sluggish start from pole position, allowing Hamilton to get alongside him.

Bottas drifted in the middle of the track, allowing Verstappen to go to the left of the two Mercedes drivers, before braking later on the racing line and into the lead of the race.

“Yeah that should not happen,” Wolff replied when asked about Bottas’ start. “I think we had two cars in front and we seemed to open up the sea for Max to come around the outside.

“Even so, the spin afterwards and the complete loss of points with Valtteri’s car when it could have been a third or fourth place is annoying to say the least.”

Despite criticising Bottas, Wolff doubts Mercedes would have won the race even if it retained the lead on the opening lap.

“Well, you have to congratulate Red Bull because the pace was just on another level,” Wolff added.

“I don’t think we could have won the race even if we would have stayed ahead in the first corner because they could have driven circles around us around the pit stops.

“In the end, for Lewis’ championship, it was damage limitation, as for the constructors’, Valtteri spinning out at Turn 1 was just very painful.”

Wolff had no explanation as to why Mercedes’ pace was worse relative to qualifying but said that Red Bull’s domination in the race was similar to what we saw in Friday F1 practice.

“No, I don’t know what they did wrong yesterday in qualifying and what went towards us but that is the pace we have seen on Friday,” Wolff explained. “It’s worse than we had hoped but you have to take it on the chin.”