While Lewis Hamilton might have won the Bahrain Grand Prix, Mercedes' Formula 1 trackside director, Andrew Shovlin believes the next two rounds at Imola and Portimao will pose an even tougher challenge.
It is safe to assume that the combination of Max Verstappen and Red Bull is the quickest on the current grid. Despite Mercedes pinching a win off the duo in Bahrain, the next two circuits, Imola and Portimao feature a lot of high-speed sections that might adversely impact the German outfit's chances according to Shovlin.
"Looking to Imola and looking to Portimao I don't think we're good enough in high speed," Shovlin told RacingNews365.com among others.
"There's plenty of that in Imola and Portimao And that's one area that they've (Red Bull) got an advantage."
"There's elements that I think will move us in the right direction like we have struggled with the rear end here in Bahrain. Those circuits will be easier in that regard.
"But as I said, high speed is something that we wouldn't be naive in thinking that can be a strength of ours at those tracks."
Shovlin elaborated on how the Mercedes W12 will improve over the course of the season saying that the team will continue to push on the development front to unlock the car's potential.
"We don't think we've got everything out of the package yet," Sohvlin said.
"When you develop a car, there's lots of areas that you look to exploit for performance and some of them we don't think, have delivered everything that they should.
"We're going to be working pretty hard to bring performance to the car in the next couple of races. But I think it's gonna happen, it's gonna be tough."
After seven uninterrupted years of success, the Mercedes team face their sternest challenge yet in the form of the Red Bull RB16B and Verstappen. The team have the necessary nous to mount a proper challenge, however with a technical overhaul on the horizon both teams might simultaneously be locked in a game of chicken with respect to who will blink first and divert more of their resources to their 2022 challenger.