Mercedes principal Toto Wolff admits his team have no answers to the “ridiculous” Ferrari power advantage at the Belgian GP.
Charles Leclerc was in a league of his own around Spa taking pole by over 0.75s over his own Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel, while Lewis Hamilton came within 0.02s of getting a Mercedes on the front row.
The Scuderia’s speed in a straight line did for Mercedes around the power-sensitive Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, and Wolff admits the deficit is “enormous” and that they cannot compete with the “ridiculous” Ferrari power unit.
“We knew that it was going to be difficult and probably third and fourth was what we expected as the optimum result,” he told the media after qualifying.
“I think it could have been second, but we have a deficit [to Ferrari] with our package.
“That [deficit] is enormous and the power is just ridiculous on Ferrari on these kinds of tracks. You have got to do everything right and we didn’t.”
It’s an all-silver second row for Sunday’s #BelgianGP! 👊
Lewis will start from P3, with VB lining up alongside him in P4
We’ve got some red cars to catch tomorrow! 💪 pic.twitter.com/gLcZqCe48f
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) August 31, 2019
The Silver Arrows’ plan to neutralise Ferrari’s straight-line speed in qualifying was to utilise the tow in Q3, but that resulted in Hamilton nearly crashing into the back of Valtteri Bottas, leading Wolff to admit it left the team “looking like an idiot”.
“Of course we know that the tow is important but today we tripped over our own feet,” he explained.
“You want to do it extra perfect and then you are looking like an idiot and this is what happened twice today.”
The W10 seems to perform better in the cooler conditions which are expected on Sunday, though Wolff thinks that will actually favour Ferrari.
However, Mercedes do possess a strong race package, so Wolff believes his team are in the conversation to claim victory on Sunday.
“I think there is everything to play for tomorrow,” he stressed.
“We have a strong race car and we know that they [Ferrari] have suffered more in the races but then the cold probably gives them an advantage.
“Straight-line speed they haven’t got available like they have in qualifying, so it’s a totally different ball game today but I’m still upset about the Saturday.”