Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insists that the Mercedes W09 is “not a diva” like its predecessor, despite playing second fiddle to Ferrari during qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix saw Sebastian Vettel lead an all Ferrari front row, with Kimi Raikkonen second. However the two Mercedes were only third and fourth – with the latter being Lewis Hamilton, who takes a five place grid penalty, and hence will only start ninth.
The 2017 championship-winning Mercedes W08 was often labelled as a “diva” by Mercedes Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff, given its very narrow operating range and varying performance on different circuits around the world.
However, Toto Wolff believes the new Mercedes W09 is not a diva, rather it was the surface of the Bahrain International Circuit and excessively high temperatures that prevented Mercedes from taking the fight to the Ferrari’s in Bahrain.
“I always said right from the beginning that this was going to be a season where it was going to be much tougher, particularly against Ferrari and Red Bull,” Wolff said.
“I was genuine about it and I meant it, and you could see that on a track like Bahrain with a very abrasive surface and lots of heat, we struggle.”
Asked if the Mercedes W09 is a diva, like its predecessor, Wolff replied: “No, it’s different.
“She’s not a diva. I think the drivers feel that the car is very much together. But we just lacked the pace today here.
“In the last years we always seemed to struggle on particular circuits. Bahrain was one where we were successful in terms of results in the past, but also sometimes it was not trivial to find the right set-up.
“And it’s interesting that the regulations change, the car’s completely different, the tyres change, but it’s a little bit within the DNA of each car to have strengths and weaknesses, and it seems that these strengths and weaknesses stay, even though everything else changes.”