Mercedes: Australia 1-2 doesn't change approach

Mercedes has stressed its mindset over its status has not changed in spite of its emphatic display at Formula 1’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Mercedes expected to trail Ferrari in Melbourne, based on the data gathered during pre-season testing, but the reigning World Champions comfortably emerged on top.

Lewis Hamilton led every practice session and edged team-mate Valtteri Bottas to pole position, before the Finn turned the tables to dominate the Grand Prix, with Hamilton second.

Bottas also collected the new-for-2019 bonus point for fastest lap, giving Mercedes a maximum haul of 44 points, double the 22 amassed by nearest rival Ferrari.

But team boss Toto Wolff has emphasised that Mercedes does not regard itself as favourite as it prepares for the second round of the season in Bahrain this weekend.

“After the Barcelona test, we felt that we were the challengers,” said Wolff.

“Whatever the Melbourne result says, our mindset hasn't changed since then. One race doesn't determine the pecking order for the rest of the season.

“We need to extract every bit of performance from our package and keep on working hard to improve the car over the weekend to be competitive.

“The fight has only just begun: Ferrari will try everything they can to hit back and Melbourne showed that Red Bull will have something to say in the fight, too.

“We've seen the potential of Ferrari's package in Barcelona, so we expect them to come back strong in Bahrain, with Red Bull in the mix as well.”

Mercedes triumphed in Bahrain from 2014 through 2016, with its first win in the country famous for the titanic tussle between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

But for the last two years it has had to play second fiddle to Ferrari, with Sebastian Vettel taking victory in both 2017 and 2018, the latter from pole position.