Wolff: Mercedes "now knows how Red Bull felt in 2014-15"
Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff has compared his cars’ straightline speed discrepancy to Ferrari with that suffered by Red Bull in the early years of the hybrid era.
Wolff conceded that Mercedes had no answer for Ferrari’s speed on the straights in Belgium, citing the way Sebastian Vettel regained second place from Lewis Hamilton after losing out at the start and going wide at La Source.
“If you would have given me second and third in Spa, I would have taken it before the race, because we know that our package compared to the Ferraris, with the straightline speed, is inferior.
“Look at Turn 1 and then the following straight, Sebastian can’t be more off the line than he was, and he was still able to overtake us.”
He added: “I know a little bit now how Red Bull felt in ‘14 and ‘15, when you are on the back foot on the straights.”
After the race, Lewis Hamilton suggested that Mercedes had to find more straightline performance before the next grand prix in Monza, as the Italian Grand Prix venue's track layout will place an even bigger emphasis on engine power.
“In the next few days we’ve got to make some drastic improvements to our straight speed, somehow,” said the world champion. “I don’t know if that’s possible – but if anyone can do it, it’s our team.”
However, asked if Mercedes could improve the situation, Wolff admitted that Ferrari would still have a clear advantage in Italy.
“I don't think we can find 15 k [kilometres per hour] in the next five days.
“But it is what it is, no complaints. We've just go to prepare the best possible for Monza, know that it is not a track which which suits us, but will favour Ferrari, and we've got to do the best possible job.
“And on the Sunday we're looking much closer, even on the high-power circuits. So I do think we've got to give it all we have to hopefully win the race in Monza.”
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF90, leads Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W10
Photo by: Gareth Harford / Sutton Images
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