Mercedes co-boss Toto Wolff reckons that Ferrari’s victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix serves as a wake up call for Mercedes.
After a 35 second victory margin in Australia, 2015 appeared to be another walk over for Mercedes. However, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari executed a two-strategy perfectly in Sepang heat to win today’s race, leaving Mercedes trailing behind in second and third places.
“Yes, that is worrying,’’ Wolff told F1’s official website. “Especially if you have the kind of track temperatures that we had today. They have been able to go faster than us over the long runs, so we need to analyse why that was the case. It clearly shows that this year is not going to be an easy one for us - gone are the illusions of a walk in the park!”
Wolff, however, admitted that Mercedes made a crucial mistake by pitting under the safety car and handing track position to Vettel’s Ferrari.
“We took this decision all together. We haven't made any strategic mistakes in the last one and a half to two years, so it doesn't make sense to point a finger at a single event. We need to find out why we've been struggling on the long runs in these hot conditions. This is the main thing we have to look at in my viewpoint,’’ he added.
Lewis Hamilton was somewhat apprehensive about Mercedes’ strategy, but was certain that Ferrari would have anyway given a tough fight to the Silver Arrows.
“I don’t really know whether, if I’d stayed out with him, whether that would have made much of a difference. They were probably just as good if not a little bit better perhaps on tyre degradation.”
“So I think it would have still been very, very close. But I think naturally after that first stop I had so much ground to catch up it was pretty much impossible.”