Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff claims Ferrari’s superior performance was due to speed on the straights, after the Silver Arrows came home well behind Ferrari in FP2.
The Scuderia showed the pace which they had displayed during testing, as both Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc finished neck-and-neck but well clear of their rivals in both free practice sessions.
Wolff declared himself “quite happy” despite Mercedes’ struggles so far this weekend, but sees the straights as Ferrari’s biggest ally.
“I think it was not bad,” Wolff said in his assessment to Sky Sports after Hamilton and Bottas finished six and seven tenths respectively behind Ferrari in FP2.
“The climate changed obviously and [FP2] is the more relevant session of the day. But we are quite happy.
“You can see the enormous straight-line power from the Ferrari. On the straights, that’s where they are making all the gains.
“Definitely a different Ferrari to the one we saw in Melbourne.”
Wolff was also surprised to see Ferrari re-emerge for a second qualifying run on new soft tyres, whilst Mercedes completed just the one run.
“It’s unusual what they did,” Wolff commented.
“It’s maybe to do with the tyre strategy in the Melbourne race and we need to analyse why they did that.”
It was then suggested to Wolff that Hamilton was struggling to get to grips with the Mercedes W10, but Wolff did not seem overly concerned.
“I think it’s very dangerous to underestimate Lewis Hamilton,” Wolff warned.
“Once the lap time counts he is always there.
“But Valtteri has picked up where he left off in Melbourne. Very strong and a very good long run for us also.”
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