Mercedes have admitted they were “probably a little bit too slow” to recognise the threat of a one-stopping Sebastian Vettel in Bahrain.
Although Vettel led the early stages of the grand prix, it looked as if the Ferrari driver would lose the race to Valtteri Bottas after Mercedes put the Finn on a one-stop strategy, running the medium tyres in the second stint.
As Ferrari have put the soft tyres on Vettel’s car during his stop it was assumed that the German was on a two-stopper.
Vettel ran the soft tyres for a marathon 39 laps, beating Bottas to the chequered flag by 0.699s.
“We were probably a little bit too slow to recognise the threat that Sebastian was actually going to take the soft tyres all the way to the flag,” technical director James Allison said in the latest edition of Pure Pit Wall.
“Had we been slightly quicker to react to it we would probably have kept more pressure on him on the laps 35 to 45, and we might have had a better outcome as a result.
“We expected him to stop again but he did very, very well in nursing those tyres all the way to the flag.
“Valtteri did manage to close down on Vettel with three laps to go we were hard up against his bumper but we were not quite good enough to get past him.
“Probably if the race had been a lap or two longer it would have been a different outcome but we left our charge a little bit too late and weren’t able to get the race win.”