Wolff: We are strong, but there are deficits

27/08/2018
NEWS STORY

"Fair and square," was how Sebastian Vettel summed up his beating of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes yesterday, while shortly after the Briton admitted that the German has passed him on the opening lap "like I wasn't even there".

Heading to Ferrari's home track at Monza, where the demand for outright grunt has earned it the epithet, the 'Cathedral of Speed', Hamilton is already fearing Vettel taking another seven points out of his title lead, while team boss Toto Wolff agrees that it is currently 'advantage Ferrari'.

"When I look at the race I see many deficits," the Austrian said of his team's Spa performance. "We are a strong team, but there are deficits that are obvious and cause us not to perform as we expect.

"You can see the deficits," he continued. "It is the slow speed, it is the traction. These are what I would summarise as the main weaknesses at the moment.

"Plus," he admitted, "compared to the Ferraris and the Red Bulls and the Force Indias, ours was the car that was cooking the tyres the most."

Asked about Hamilton's post-race comments, when the Briton claimed Ferrari had a "few trick things going on in the car", Wolff said: "They have a power advantage. We saw that in qualifying, their power advantage is on various parts of the straight, and you can see that even if the exits are worse than ours, their engine keeps pulling.

"That is nothing," he continued, "that could be a trick, it might also be related to how you run the engine, how you calibrate it. But in the same way, they derated earlier in qualifying than we did.

"So yes, we can see that they have a slight power advantage and then you add that to our weaknesses, out of Turn 1 especially, and that causes the double whammy. If you aren't very good on traction and you are being outperformed slightly on power then lap one happens."

Despite the fact that further upgrades to the engine cannot be made without grid penalties, the Austrian believes it is still possible to close the gap however.

"It is all about understanding your power unit and calibrating, extracting all of the performance out of the software, the fuels, the oils and optimising the whole way you run the engine. That is something which doesn't involve the hardware and this is an ongoing process. So the answer is yes you can find performance.

"There is no silver bullet," he admits. "We won't find any performance that is suddenly going to add three tenths to the car, or to the engine, and we disappear into the sunset."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Spa, here.

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Published: 27/08/2018
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