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Wolff admits Mercedes 'made mistakes' in Melbourne

Toro Wolff, Mercedes, Malaysian Grand Prix
© XPB 

Mercedes principal Toto Wolff has admitted that the team made errors in the first race of the season, and promised that they would learn from their mistakes.

Lewis Hamilton scored a dominant pole position for the Australian Grand Prix and led the opening laps of the race. However a virtual safety car period allowed Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to take the lead.

"We suspected that the new season would be close fought," Wolff said this week. "The first race confirmed those suspicions.

"We made mistakes and did not perform to our maximum," he acknowledged.

"It reminded us that this is the toughest racing series in the world," he continued. "Every error is punished.

"It hurt to leave all those points on the table, especially because we know we had the pace to win in Australia."

Wolff insisted that the team remained positive about overhauling Vettel's early lead in the championship standings.

"We did what we always do after a tough weekend," he said. "We made sure that we understand what went wrong and put a process in place to make sure that we don't see a similar issue in the future.

"These painful moments are the real learning experiences," he added. "Mistakes become training."

The proof of how much Mercedes have learned from the season opener will come this weekend in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

"We expect Bahrain to be another challenging weekend," he said. "The challenges will be of a completely different nature.

It's not only the dust and heat that worries Wolff. While FP1 and FP3 are held in bright daylight, the key sessions - qualifying and the race itself - take place in cooler under floodlights after dark.

"The conditions change drastically between sessions," Wolff explained. "That makes it extremely difficult to find the right set-up with the car.

In addition, Wolff experts Bahrain to be a track better suited to Ferrari compared to the tight and twist Albert Park street circuit.

"We saw in Melbourne that the Ferraris in particular were very quick, so I expect it to be a close battle," he commented. "Bahrain is also a power-sensitive race with the long straights.

"We've seen some great racing in Bahrain in recent years," he said. "Particularly between our drivers back in 2014. I think we can look forward to an exciting and competitive weekend."

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