Valtteri Bottas put in the qualifying lap of his life yesterday which baffled even Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff but the Finn was upstaged by home-hero, Sebastian Vettel in clearly superior Ferrari.
Wolff now has revealed how far Mercedes are lagging behind their rivals. The Austrian believes the difference in speed to be almost half-a-second, which in racing terms is a massive gap.
“It’s about five-tenths”, said the Mercedes boss. “Of course we didn’t expect it but in Formula 1 you need to be ready for literally anything and we need to find out how we can increase our output.”
“They have a great power unit, huge performance. We’re looking good through all kinds of corners but we are not able to match their straight-line performance.”
The speed deficit is not a new phenomenon for Mercedes, they have been found to be lacking in it across the season so far, being dominant only in France and Spain. Wolff believed that the problem will be solved through internalisation.
“There’s not a single second I want to look at Ferrari, I want to look at ourselves, I want to look at Mercedes and see how, is there anything we’ve missed”, he said.
“How can we increase our power output? On the ICE, on the electrical systems? From the battery, from the MGU-H- whatever we can look at because if we want to win this championship or stay in the hunt, we’ve got a severe warning, in terms of what we’ve seen.”
The meteoric rise in speed and engine development from the Scuderia was bound to raise some eyebrows and sure enough it did, with some rival teams complaining to the FIA about a surge in power their engine generated.
The FIA went to great lengths to ensure fair play and even installed a special chip to monitor any untoward components but could not prove any misdoing by the Italian team.