Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has explained that first and third is the result he wanted to achieve during qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix, as both his drivers will be starting the race on the 'clean' side of the grid.
Lewis Hamilton bounced back from illness to storm to pole position at the Losail International Circuit, with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen splitting the Mercedes pair.
Given that Verstappen's grid slot will be off the racing line, Wolff pointed to the dust seen so far this weekend and the fact that there are not any support categories to help clean the track.
"I think with one and three [on the grid], it's the version that we would have opted for, because it's on the cleaner line - there are no support races here," Wolff told Sky Sports after qualifying.
"We should be OK there, but you never know, if Max gets a good start and is able to maintain the lead, or comes out of the first corner in the lead, obviously it's much more difficult."
Mercedes ready for the fight
Wolff talked through the changing form on each side of the Mercedes garage this weekend but is hopeful of a strong team result in Sunday's race to make progress in both World Championship battles.
"We did good work over the weekend," Wolff added.
"Valtteri [Bottas] was happier with the car yesterday, but it wasn't in a sweet spot for him [today]. And the opposite was true for Lewis, who wasn't particularly satisfied yesterday, but had a great car in qualifying."
Quizzed about the gap between Mercedes and Red Bull, Wolff added: "They did a great straight-line speed today, by the way, with a big wing, so they also found some performance.
"We just need to finish good tomorrow to score some points and get some back, and then maybe go to Abu Dhabi, and whoever wins, wins the World Championship."
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