Mercedes expect Ferrari to rebound straight back in this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix following the champions dominated the opening race of this growing season.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Ferrari revealed in preseason testing they were stronger than they looked in Australia.
“We have seen the potential of Ferrari’s package in Barcelona; we all expect them to come back strong in Bahrain,” he explained.
Wolff added that he expected Red Bull, who finished third with Max Verstappen in Albert Park, to be”in the combination too well”.
“Claiming the maximum 44 points race contrary to the very first race was a great outcome,” Wolff said.
“However, the struggle has only just begun: Ferrari will try all they could to hit back and Melbourne showed that Red Bull may have something to say in the struggle, too.
“Following the Barcelona test, we felt that we were the challengers (to Ferrari). Whatever the Melbourne result says, our mindset hasn’t changed ever since that time.
“One race doesn’t determine the pecking order for the remaining portion of the growing season. We need to extract every little bit of performance by our package and keep on working hard to enhance the vehicle on the weekend to remain competitive”
Hamilton, who took rod in Australia but had been beaten off the line by Bottas after which fell back following an early pit stop and some light damage to his vehicle, said he had been surprised by Mercedes’ dominance over Ferrari in Australia.
“I think every one is,” he said after the race in Melbourne. “No-one was looking to own a difference such as that. What was shown was that these were beforehand and it wasn’t the case for this particular weekend.
“We did our normal job. I’m sure they will keep coming back strong hence we now have to keep on our feet.”