Mercedes surprised by straightforward Chinese GP victory

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the “straightforward” nature of its Chinese Grand Prix performance came as a surprise, as it extended its Formula 1 title lead.

Ferrari held a pace advantage in Bahrain and Mercedes was braced for a repeat, but the reigning champions locked out the front row of the grid, three-tenths clear of its opponent.

Lewis Hamilton jumped Valtteri Bottas off the line and the duo retained their net positions throughout, as Mercedes ultimately claimed a comfortable 1-2.

It marked its third 1-2 on the bounce, the first time a team has achieved the feat to start a season since 1992, and fifth victory in a row in Formula 1.

“Based on our long run simulations we didn't think it would be so straightforward and our advantage to Ferrari came as a bit of a surprise,” said Wolff.

“They still look very quick on the straights; I'm not sure it's just the power, our car is maybe a bit draggier than theirs, but we have to keep working on our straight-line performance.”

Mercedes’ victory included pitting both Hamilton and Bottas on the same lap, with the team undertaking the double stop without any issues.

“Stacking the cars for a double pit stop was a risky moment because you have everything to lose when you're leading the race,” he commented.

“But we thought we would lose positions if we had stopped one of the earlier.

“Our plan worked out perfectly; it was a well-choreographed pit stop and the team did a brilliant job.”

Looking ahead to the next round of the campaign in Azerbaijan, Wolff commented: “Baku is a different ball-game, there's a very long straight and we need to get the power and drag level there right.

“I think we'll be up for the fight and I'm looking forward to it.”