Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, has branded the Bahrain GP as on of his “worst days in racing,” and says big changes are on the cards.
Teammates Lewis Hamilton (P5) and George Russell (P7) finished the race more than 50s off the Red Bulls – who started the season with a stellar one-two finish.
After a disastrous day for the once-dominant team, Wolff says he plans on abandoning the 2022 concept – which they chose to continue with this season – and admitted that it “hurts” him to see Red Bull progressing so far ahead.
“One of the worst days in racing,” Wolff told on Sky Sports F1 in the aftermath of the race.
“Really not good at all, we were just lacking pace front, right, and centre. Red Bull is just on a different planet. That is what hurts because they are so far ahead, it reminds me of our best years because we just put a second on everybody else.
“That is the benchmark and we have to do one step after the other to come back and we can do that. We can, absolutely we can.
“I think it needs to be much more radical in the steps than hope for a three-tenths upgrade”.
Wolff then went on to tell reporters in Bahrain: “I think we’ve almost doubled if not if not tripled the gap to Red Bull… and this is what we need to look at”.
Things started out good for the Brackley-based team with hamilton lifting his Mercedes from 7th up to 5th in the opening lap, however he was overtaken by the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso with 18 laps to go and didn’t have the pace to fight against Ferrari late on in the 57 lap run.
Earlier in the weekend, Hamilton described Mercedes’ current concept as “on the wrong track” and after the race, said he thinks the team is actually moving “backwards”.
“We definitely can’t fight Ferrari at the moment,” Hamilton said. “They were much quicker than us today, as were the Astons.
“We’re the fourth fastest team. We are going backwards, we have a lot of work to do to close that gap”.
He then told Sky Sports F1 that he will be calling for immediate upgrades to ensure that the gap to their rivals doesn’t widen.
“Unfortunately the car is not there at the moment.We are just lacking downforce and we have got to work really hard to add that ASAP.
“Anything from in the wind tunnel, we need it tomorrow. We have really got to push massively to try and close that gap”.