Toto Wolff has expressed his beliefs that the Mercedes team need to work on closing the pace deficit to rivals Ferrari during Saturday's qualifying session, but still holds firm on the race pace from the team during Sunday's races.
Mercedes were out-qualified by both Ferrari's of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel as well as the Red Bull of Max Verstappen during qualifying for last weekend's Mexican Grand Prix, and the team have not been able to secure a pole position since the German Grand Prix last July.
Ferrari have secured all pole positions since F1's return from summer break at the Belgian Grand Prix, with the only exception being Verstappen's pole in Mexico, which was handed to Leclerc after Verstappen was penalised for ignoring yellow flags.
However, Wolff believes that Ferrari in particular are missing the essentials in overall race pace and that it's something it needs to work on, but fears that his team could fall back if they do not work on the loss of one lap pace during qualifying sessions.
"I think it is not only about being more clever I think we have a very strong race car on Sunday with a lot of pace and only this is the reason why we are able to undercut or overcut like we did," Wolff commented.
"Great drivers, good strategy. You add that and that gave us the three victories but clearly we are missing some pace on Saturday."
Wolff is concerned that the team are no longer as dominant as it once used to be in the sport, and is confident that the power advantage from the Ferrari power unit will push Mercedes to make up the gains to their Italian rivals.
It doesn't feel like a Mercedes march," Wolff added. "The pure raw pace is that they have the quickest package at the moment but Sundays don't seem to come together for them.
"We like it. We are hungry to continue as we have done maybe getting these occasional slaps in qualifying helps to improve."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing