The thrilling 3-day Formula 1 2021 pre-season testing in Bahrain came to an end on Sunday. While the rejuvenated Red Bull impressed in their first outing of the season, reigning champions Mercedes had a really tough time at Bahrain International Circuit. There were a range of issues that Toto Wolff’s team faced during the testing, which will be a major cause of concern for them. Barring their own problems, the biggest worry for Mercedes going into the new season would be the performance of rivals Red Bull this weekend.
We’re not as quick as Red Bull, claims Mercedes
It was quite evident that Red Bull certainly outpaced the Silver Arrows during the three days in Bahrain. Although Mercedes has had an issue with pace in winter testing in recent years, they might have their work cut out this time around with the season opening race just two weeks away.
Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin reflected on his team’s struggles in Bahrain. He said, “Valtteri was doing long run-up work in the morning and Lewis doing a mix of long run work and qualifying work in the afternoon. We’ve made a bit of progress with the balance on higher fuel, and the car was more predictable, but we can see from the data we’ve collected over the last few days that on race pace, we’re not as quick as Red Bull.
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) March 14, 2021
Lewis Hamilton wary of Red Bull threat in 2021
Red Bull had a really strong show during the 3 days in Bahrain. While Max Verstappen emerged as the fastest driver on Day 1 and Day 3, Sergio Perez also looked really impressive on his debut outing for his new team. On the other hand, reigning champion Lewis Hamilton had few difficulties with his car in Bahrain as he struggled to find his grip and even spun at times. The 7-time F1 champion finished P10, P15 and P5 on the three days respectively.
Ahead of the new season, Hamilton is certainly wary of the dangerous duo of Verstappen and Perez as he believes they pose a huge threat to Mercedes. Reflecting on Red Bull’s performance in pre-season testing, Lewis said, “They’ve had some really good running. They’re going to be a different animal this year, with a real good strong lineup of the two drivers and a really good car.”
💬 "We're not quick enough at the moment but I have every faith in the team.
"We love challenges and this definitely is a challenge for us!" ✊
An honest and open debrief with Lewis after a tough three days of testing in Bahrain 👇 pic.twitter.com/pKwokp0MI6
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) March 14, 2021
Notably, Mercedes won the Constructors Championship in 2020 with a mammoth 573 points, way ahead of second-place Red Bull (319 points). However, considering the performance of two teams in pre-season testing, the fans can be certain that things are going to be lot more competitive and interesting in F1 2021. The 23-race season kicks off with Bahrain GP on March 28.