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The car of Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, in the garage
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Analysis

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping

“We’ve got a car that could win a championship…”

That’s what Mercedes thinks of its W12, the successor to what may well go down as one Formula 1’s best ever cars. But in 2021, Mercedes’ assessment comes with many caveats, despite the team currently leading the constructors’ championship ahead of Red Bull.  

Even with a three-week gap since the season-opening race in Bahrain, the situation as F1 sets up at Imola for round two is well known: Red Bull has the season’s fastest car so far, and Mercedes is under pressure. That stress exploded into scenes of joy when Lewis Hamilton unexpectedly beat Max Verstappen in the desert darkness, but such celebrations only came after the hard work the world champion squad had logged between testing and the first race.  

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