Mercedes has "no strengths" over Red Bull in F1 2021

Mercedes believes it has no strengths over Red Bull in Formula 1 this year, despite winning the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Mercedes has "no strengths" over Red Bull in F1 2021

An aggressive strategy by the German car manufacturer, allied to some great tyre management and defensive driving from Lewis Hamilton, helped the world champion fend off Max Verstappen at Sakhir on Sunday.

But despite the joy of the win, which came off the back of a tricky pre-season test, Mercedes is in no doubt that any prior advantage it has had in F1 has been wiped away.

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said: “We don't really have any strengths relative to them.

“We've had a lot of years where we've been able to rely on straight-line speed, or high-speed cornering or interconnecting corners. But you look at it here and we weren't taking any time out of them anywhere.

"There were a couple of corners where they really took chunks out of us in qualifying: the high-speed and also Turn 9/10, they were very strong there.

“And that's really the main thing. In qualifying we're just bang on their pace in our best corners and they're quicker in the others. So we need a faster car, as simple as that.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

While Mercedes has enjoyed the edge in most recent seasons, the step forward by Red Bull is not the first time that it has faced a close right at the front.

In 2018, Mercedes did not win a race until round four of the championship in Baku, as it faced a strong challenge from both Ferrari and Red Bull.

Shovlin felt that the balance of performance between Mercedes and Red Bull was as finely poised as it was then, which tees up an incredibly closely-fought 2021 campaign.

“We've had some tough years in the past few seasons, this is not alien to us and is what we've got to work with,” he said. “It's two teams that look to be pretty much neck and neck at the moment. I think it's going to be a tough year.

Read Also:

“There's no doubt Red Bull operate really well. They're a sharp, well-focused team that don't make many mistakes. Max is clearly a very mature, very smart racer now and he's difficult - and they develop well.

“They've shown over every season they've got the capacity to put a lot of performance on the car. So, regardless of the start point, this is not going to be an easy championship. It's going to be tight and it's one we're not going to give up on. And they're going to tell you the same.”

Additional reporting by Stephen Lickorish

shares
comments

Related video

How the 'Great F1 Rake-Off' delivered a Bahrain GP showdown
Previous article

How the 'Great F1 Rake-Off' delivered a Bahrain GP showdown

Next article

Podcast: Hamilton beats Verstappen in thrilling F1 2021 opener in Bahrain

Podcast: Hamilton beats Verstappen in thrilling F1 2021 opener in Bahrain
The relaxed home life that helps F1’s Danish superstar to deliver Plus

The relaxed home life that helps F1’s Danish superstar to deliver

The unrelenting grasp of the tax man prompts most racing drivers to move to the likes of Monaco, Switzerland or Dubai. But, as OLEG KARPOV found out, Kevin Magnussen is quite happy where he is, thank you very much – at home, with his family, in Denmark

Formula 1
Oct 5, 2022
How Perez has shown what many F1 drivers need from the 2022 season run-in Plus

How Perez has shown what many F1 drivers need from the 2022 season run-in

OPINION: Sergio Perez’s Singapore triumph arrested a big decline in his Formula 1 performances against Max Verstappen at Red Bull since his Monaco win. He now needs to maintain his form to the season’s end, while others are also seeking a change in fortunes

Formula 1
Oct 5, 2022
How the FIA should punish any breaches of the F1 cost cap Plus

How the FIA should punish any breaches of the F1 cost cap

OPINION: On Wednesday, the FIA will issue F1 teams with compliance certificates if they stuck to the 2021 budget cap. But amid rumours of overspending, the governing body must set a critical precedent. It needs to carefully pick between revisiting the bitterness of Abu Dhabi, a contradictory punishment and ensuring parity for the rest of the ground-effect era

Formula 1
Oct 4, 2022
Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

A testing return to the Singapore Grand Prix in tricky conditions created plenty of hazards and mistakes for the Formula 1 drivers to fall into. That partly explains a number of low scores, including from a handful of high profile runners, allowing others to take a starring role under the floodlights

Formula 1
Oct 3, 2022
The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in F1's 2022 Singapore GP Plus

The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in F1's 2022 Singapore GP

In a marathon Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, Sergio Perez’s victory was only assured hours after the race due to a stewards investigation. Throughout the contest the Red Bull driver impressively held off Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in changing conditions to see the Mexican pull out enough of an advantage to negate his post-race penalty

Formula 1
Oct 3, 2022
The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams Plus

The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams

What happens, asks MATT KEW, if the old adage of win on a Sunday, sell on a Monday is no longer true for F1 manufacturers?

Formula 1
Oct 2, 2022
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Plus

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Plus

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022