Not great for anybody betting the odds for Mercedes to win any F1 races any time soon – the team was delighted and not disappointed by the outcome of Sunday’s season opener in Bahrain.
Lewis Hamilton claimed third and George Russell fourth on a tough day, only because of late retirements for BOTH Red Bulls driven by new World Champion Max Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Perez.
While the Silver Arrows headed for Race 2 in Saudi Arabia with a 27-point lead over their bitter rivals, Team Principal Toto Wolff knows that was luck rather than the state of his team’s 2022 car.
He said: “Today we were punching above our weight class, with the Red Bulls DNF-ing.
“At the moment we are fifth and sixth on the track, and we are trying to recover ground but it is not going to come from one day to the other – we’ll keep pushing.”
Why is the Mercedes so slow in 2022?
So what are the actual problems for Mercedes right now? And why are they so far off the pace set by Ferrari and Red Bull?
Wolff added: “I think we were over-winged today. We had too much drag and that is just because we are lacking parts at the moment. But hopefully we can remedy that, and make progress on the top two’s [Ferrari and Red Bull’s] advantage.
“We really need to leave no stone unturned on the [power unit] side and look for all performance gains. But the wing was the issue for us today on straightline speed.”
Mercedes F1 Odds in 2022
These issues for Mercedes are unheard of in recent years – you have to go back to 2013 to find a time when the team was not winning the Constructors’ Championship (the team title) and one of its drivers was not World Champion.
But now everything is very different and the odds show you just how different – a month ago you’d have been called crazy if you’d suggested what we are seeing now. You can bet Hamilton at +1000 to win in Saudi Arabia Sunday, and his teammate George Russell at +3300. Unthinkable even as recently as February.
Meanwhile, for the first time in living memory, Mercedes is not the favorite to finish as the top team in 2022. It is currently trading at +200 with Ferrari the +115 leader after that one-two finish in Bahrain.