Mercedes are still slightly dazed and confused after Ferrari overturned the form book to capture a surprise win at the Malaysian Grand Prix. This weekends Chinese Grand Prix will see if Ferrari can secure a back to back win. If Vettel manages to do so then both he and Ferrari are going to be a nail in the foot for Mercedes all season long.
Team boss Toto Wolfe is under no illusions and realises Mercedes have been living off the fat of success for perhaps too long. “We left Malaysia with plenty to think about. It may have been a good result for the sport – but for us, it was a wake-up call,” he said. “This is something you cannot afford to happen often and, although we had two cars on the podium, we have been looking very carefully at every area where we could have performed better” said Wolfe.
“Our opposition has raised its game and we must now raise ours even further; as we have said since Melbourne, we expect a season-long battle for both World Championships and we must maximise every opportunity” continued Wolfe.
Ferrari won the Malaysian Grand Prix because their car and Vettel managed the tyres better over long runs in the searing heat of Sepang, China will be cooler but the competition will be just as fiercely hot. Can Ferrari repeat their win? We’re no experts here after all we said Ferrari would be no where this season and now the team look to be a growing threat for the world championship.
Or are they, Malaysia may well be just a one off win for Ferrari however the Mercedes F1 technical director, Paddy Lowe, was having a analytical nightmare of sorts, “We’ve spent time analyzing the weekend in Sepang to identify areas for improvement. The most significant weakness was our tyre management during long runs. Exceptionally high track temperatures – even by Malaysian standards – contributed to this, however it is essential to have a car which performs at all circuits and in all conditions, so there is work to be done on that front.” said Lowe.
Toto Wolfe seems more determined to take the battle to Ferrari and made an almost battle cry statement “Our opposition has raised its game and we must now raise ours even further. We have the weapons at our disposal – and we need to make the most of them this weekend.”