Toto Wolff makes Max Verstappen declaration with Mercedes stuck in ‘vicious cycle’

Sam Cooper
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff on the grid.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff admitted mistakes were made in Bahrain.

Toto Wolff described Max Verstappen as “in a different galaxy’ after the Dutchman cruised to victory in the opening race of the season.

Verstappen picked up where he left off as he comfortably won the opening race of the 2024 campaign, a result that is likely to be repeated throughout the year.

Toto Wolff says ‘mistakes’ behind Mercedes issues

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Mercedes did not have such an easy evening with both drivers having to manage power unit issues but after the race, team boss Wolff was perplexed as to why they lost so much time on the hard tyre.

“Max was in a different galaxy,” Wolff told reporters, including PlanetF1.com, in Bahrain. “We need to look at ourselves, why we lost so much performance on the hard tyre.

“We got the cooling level wrong and therefore you need to lift and coast, you lose performance on the tyres. It was a bit of a vicious circle.”

As for that issue, Wolff was asked whether it was circuit specific and he said they were “learning” from the “many mistakes” they made.

“I think it’s weird because we had some pace in the car but we didn’t on the hard tyre today,” Wolff said.

“I think there’s many mistakes we’ve done but in the end, we’re learning. We have a brand new car and we’re seeing the glimpses of performance but couldn’t materialise any of that today so I’m really keen to look at the data and see what we can do.”

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On George Russell’s battle with Charles Leclerc, Wolff said that ultimate defeat was due to them giving both drivers a car that was “not competitive.”

“There’s some oddities,” he said. “He was really strong coming in but we gave them both a car that today was not competitive enough for the race.

“And I think we know a few things why but obviously the two of them struggled during the race. You can see that.”

Read next: Bahrain Grand Prix: Verstappen’s title defence off to perfect start as Ferrari rivalry gets spicy