Mercedes had the Bahrain Grand Prix won on lap 21. Well, almost. According to team boss Toto Wolff, there was only a one-in-ten chance of Ferrari winning despite Sebastian Vettel being in the lead. And yet, 36 laps later, Vettel claimed his second consecutive grand prix victory by 0.699 seconds from Valtteri Bottas.
"I think we had won the race already after coming out on the medium behind Sebastian with a gap we were able to close down, knowing Ferrari would either have to stop once again or would run out of tyre if we were to push them," said Wolff when asked if his team could have done anything differently. "This was the moment I would say 90% probability was on us winning, and we lost that."
For the second race in succession, the question is how did Mercedes lose from a winning position? In the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, it was an ostensibly simple combination of an unfortunately-timed virtual safety car and a team miscalculation of lap time deltas, but in Bahrain it was far more complicated - at least in terms of the on-track machinations.