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Wolff: Ferrari has five-tenths advantage

NEWS STORY
21/07/2018

Still shell-shocked at Lewis Hamilton's hydraulics failure that will see the world champion start from the seventh row of the grid, when the Briton claimed that up until that point Ferrari had a three-tenths advantage on the straights, team boss Toto Wolff was quick to contradict him.

"To be precise, it was five tenths, on the straights," said the Austrian.

However, it's not just the works team that has made a huge step forward since its latest upgrade was introduced in Canada, Haas and Sauber have also seen a huge improvement, both now regularly making it into Q3.

As many suggest that, like all reigns, Mercedes, in terms of domination of the sport, is coming to an end, there was little comfort in Wolff's words.

"I've heard Christian complaining the last four years about straight-line speed, so I don't want to go there!" he said, when asked about Ferrari's advantage. "But as a matter of fact it's where we lost out today. They have a great power unit, a huge performance.

"We were looking good through all kinds of corners, but we're not able to match their straight-line performance," he admitted. "Valtteri was exceptional in the third sector, this is why we were close to pole position. We just have to look at things and try to improve.

"It's not expected," he said of the five-tenths advantage seemingly enjoyed by Ferrari, "but in F1 you need to expect everything, and we need to find out how we can increase our power output, and not one single second I want to look at Ferrari, I want to look at ourselves, look at Mercedes and say: 'Is there anything we have missed?' How can we increase our power output from the ICE, or electrically from the battery or from the H, whatever we can look at, in order to have more power. Because if we want to win this championship, or stay in the hunt in this championship, we've got a severe warning today in terms of what we have seen."

However, as some within the paddock question Ferrari's performance gain, despite the FIA's constant assurances that all is above board, Wolff pointed to the fact that Kimi Raikkonen - who missed out on pole by 0.335s - is running the original spec engine, thereby suggesting that the gain is not entirely power unit specific.

"It's a worry, but we have seen already they are capable of doing it, pretty much within a few races, independent from the power unit, because one car still has the first spec in the car, Vettel has a new spec in the car, and they've brought new bits to the track today that they've put into all Ferrari-powered cars, and all of them bar one made it into Q3.

"So that is an extraordinary, or really exceptional development, and if others are capable of achieving that we need to be capable of achieving that and looking at all avenues."

Of the 89 races held since the new formula was introduced in 2014, Mercedes has won 66 (74.2%), while Ferrari has won 12 and Renault 11.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Hockenheim, here.

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