Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has warned his drivers to expect Ferrari to come out fighting when they head to Bahrain for the second race of the season this weekend.
The Italian outfit put in some impressive displays during pre-season testing in Barcelona but were unable to transfer that into the season-opener in Australia.
Mercedes duo Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton claimed a 1-2 at Albert Park, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen claiming the final spot on the podium.
Former world champion and Ferrari frontrunner Sebastian Vettel was fourth with newboy Charles Leclerc in fifth.
Vettel was a minute adrift of winner Bottas but Wolff isn’t reading too much into their performance in Melbourne.
He was of course delighted to see his team collect the maximum points on offer but expects Ferrari to respond in Bahrain.
Wolff said: “Claiming the maximum 44 points race from the first race was a fantastic result, we could not have asked for a better start to the season.
“But 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.”
Vettel has taken the chequered flag on his last two visits to the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir and can be backed at 3.60 to win the Bahrain Grand Prix.