Mercedes paid the price for neglecting to do a shakedown before testing unlike their nine Formula 1 rival teams putting them on the back foot ahead of the 2021 season.
It was a downright miserable day for them, apart from the dust-storm, their car suffered gearbox problems early in the day, likely they would have picked that up had they opted to do the Film Day the others did.
Nevertheless, they did their drivers no favours on day one of testing at Bahrain International Circuit on Friday, as Valtteri Bottas’ morning session was limited to six laps while conditions in the afternoon were awful they did get Lewis Hamilton going with 42 laps covered.
All-in-all less than fifty laps for the World Champions compared to the 138 feisty laps by Max Verstappen in the Red Bull who immediately pushed the RB16B only to go over the limit and spin, it was scrappy early stuff but expected after the long lay-off.
Mercedes wished they had that under their belt and will head into day two with damage control in mind and expect them to bounce back and find the sweet spot in the remaining couple of days.
Trackside for Sky F1, Karun Chandhok observed “It’s very out of character what we’ve seen today from Mercedes.
“At Barcelona pre-season testing in the past we’ve been used to seeing them be metronomic with a race distance with one driver in the morning and then another with the other in the afternoon.”
His sentiment’s echoed by colleague Martin Brundle: “It’s not been a sparkling day for Mercedes. I wouldn’t start to think there’s a massive concern about that, but when you see Lewis struggling for grip you know he’s not unduly happy.
“They’ll be concerned that small details are getting in the way. You do expect the Mercedes these days to be plug and play.”
Even Hamilton’s stint in the car was not niggle free with the Champ uncomfortable with his pedals at first before a mirror issue which would probably have been ironed out during the missed filming day, which they scheduled for after the test at Sakhir.
Mercedes will bounce back as perhaps only they can, however, the start of the season won’t be remembered as a good one by them, and that includes the weather.