Mercedes face ‘difficult’ task stopping Vettel


Although Mercedes lead both championships, they believe they will be the underdogs in Singapore, a track that “should favour” Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel.

Last time out at Monza Lewis Hamilton seized the advantage in the Drivers’ Championship, the lead changing hands for the first time this season.

Back-to-back wins in Belgium and Italy, the first driver to manage two successive wins in this campaign, saw the Brit move three points ahead of Vettel.

Many, though, are predicting that the German and Ferrari could fight back in Singapore, a track that is more suited to the Scuderia’s F1 car than it is Mercedes’.

And although Wolff acknowledges this, the Mercedes motorsport boss believes his team has worked hard to eradict the W08’s deficits.

He explained: “Identifying clearly our strengths and our weaknesses has been a strength of our team in recent seasons.

“As we have pushed to become better and stronger in every area, we have put the finger in the wound in order to understand the root causes of both our good performances and the bad ones.

“In 2015, Singapore provided us with one of the most painful experiences in recent seasons, so we rolled up the sleeves, learned from it and managed to bounce back with a great win last year.

“But notwithstanding that success, this is a circuit we have found difficult to master with its combination of short, sharp corners, relatively short straights and bumpy surface. And we head to Asia this time round with the expectation that we have a big challenge ahead of us.

“So far this year, we have seen the pendulum swing according to circuit type. On the surface, Singapore is the kind of circuit that should favour both Ferrari and Red Bull.

“Both have shown strong performance on low-speed circuits demanding maximum downforce, and we have found life more difficult at those places in 2017. Sometimes, characteristics like this are simply in the DNA of a car.

“Nevertheless we learned a lot from our struggles in Monaco, raised our level of performance significantly in Hungary and we have made good progress in understanding what we need to do in order to get the most from the chassis.”

He added: “It’s a weekend when every part of the team needs to be at its best if you wish to score a strong finish. We will aim to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and finish strongly.”