Toto Wolff certainly relished the fight against Red Bull in F1 2021 opener in Bahrain, as he hopes it is the sign of a competitive season ahead.

It looked like Mercedes would struggle the tiny bit in Bahrain, which they did, but a good drive from Lewis Hamilton allowed them to push through when it mattered on Sunday. Max Verstappen showed good pace for pole and even in the grand prix, but wasn’t enough.

Considering the F1 pre-season test, Mercedes seems to be on the backfoot but not by much, as both the engines – in particular – is delivering well. It will be hell of an effort from Red Bull to decimate the German giants from the top spot in Honda’s last year.

Wolff certainly hopes it is like that throughout the 2021 F1 season, before the change happens in 2022. “The 2021 F1 season certainly began in spectacular style,” he said ahead of this weekend’s race in Imola.

“It was an encouraging first race, coming away from Bahrain with a double podium, and hopefully the duel in the desert between us and Red Bull is a sign of what’s to come this year. We may have won the first round, but we’re under no illusions that this will be a straightforward season.

“The car is still lacking pace over a single lap and Red Bull appear to have the edge right now. We’re pushing hard to close the gap, and this is a challenge we relish. We’ve been eager to get back on track over this three-week break and round two, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, is just around the corner.

“It’s quite a narrow track, which makes overtaking more difficult, but this puts more focus on strategy and makes qualifying even more crucial. We all enjoyed returning to Imola in 2020, after a 14-year gap, and it was made more special by the fact we secured our seventh Constructors’ championship on that weekend. We’re looking forward to being back there again this weekend and seeing what the 2021 race has in store,” summed up Wolff.

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