Mercedes needs "enormous" pace difference to beat Leclerc

Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff expects it to be "really difficult" to overtake Singapore Grand Prix poleman Charles Leclerc without an "enormous" pace difference.

Mercedes needs "enormous" pace difference to beat Leclerc

Leclerc surprised Mercedes and Red Bull by putting his Ferrari on pole position, although Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton will line up alongside him.

Hamilton has hounded Leclerc in the past two grands prix but such relentless pressure comes at a bigger cost in Singapore, which is a long race that takes its toll on the drivers, cars and tyres.

Wolff said: "I think it's more difficult here, it's a little bit like Monaco, maybe not as bad, where it's really difficult to overtake – especially when they are fast down the straight – unless the pace difference is enormous.

"We don't expect that [pace difference]. Nevertheless we're going into the race tomorrow full steam ahead. The points are being awarded tomorrow, not today."

Read Also:

Hamilton has won the last two grands prix in Singapore and taken four victories in total at the Marina Bay circuit.

Mercedes had an advantage during Friday practice's long-run work but Wolff is not convinced that will be enough to overhaul Ferrari now Leclerc has track position.

"Obviously if you're fast on one lap you've got to have the heat in the tyres for this one lap and it's something that can bite you on a race distance," said.

"But having said that once you are in front you have a decent opportunity in managing from there. I'd rather be on pole with a slightly compromised car than have a great race car but not be on pole."

Hamilton's final lap in Q3 got him onto the front row ahead of the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.

He believes that could be a significant factor for today's race.

"Charles obviously put some great laps in and it really needed something special at the end so I gave it absolutely everything I had," he said.

"It was very, very close to the wall a couple of times but it was as much as I could get out of the car.

"I'm very, very happy to be on the front row in the mix with them so we can try to divide them [in the race]."

Hamilton questioned whether Leclerc's driving in their fierce battle in the Italian Grand Prix was legitimate but said afterwards he would change his approach if the rules have been clarified.

After qualifying in Singapore he said "tomorrow we can be aggressive", and when asked if that meant "different to Monza", Hamilton replied: "Ha! Well, it's a street track, but we'll see."

shares
comments
Haas data mismatch prompts Grosjean spec experiment

Previous article

Haas data mismatch prompts Grosjean spec experiment

Next article

FIA approves extra Pirelli 2020 tyre test

FIA approves extra Pirelli 2020 tyre test
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Singapore GP
Teams Mercedes
Author Scott Mitchell
How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for 2021 Prime

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for 2021

In Max Verstappen's Formula 1 career to date, he has been cast as the 'pretender', an acknowledged top-line performer without the car to regularly challenge Lewis Hamilton. But that no longer applies in 2021, and the start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the most telling signal yet of what we can expect from their duel this year

How "overwhelming" McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Prime

How "overwhelming" McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Prime

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments.

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Prime

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Prime

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Prime

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Prime

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping .

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021