Toto Wolff says Mercedes engineers will struggle at the Chinese Grand Prix
Friday’s two practice sessions were all but wiped out by rain and smog meaning the teams arrived at Saturday’s qualifying with a solitary morning of dry running under their belt in Shanghai.
However, Mercedes managed to repeat their feat from the Australian Grand Prix, giving Lewis Hamilton his 63rd career pole and the team’s 75th in all.
But Wolff believes tomorrow will be a whole different story as the poor weather forecast could leave them guessing at crucial set-up details.
“For an engineer to set up a car, this is the perfect storm,” Wolff said.
“You’re missing the relevant data points and it’s about putting the car in the best possible position.
Lewis Hamilton claimed 63rd career pole for Chinese Grand Prix
“It’s made worse by the completely different climatic conditions tomorrow – it will be 10 degrees colder, it’s going to rain so we’ll be in the dark.”
Mercedes are the defending F1 World Constructors’ Champions and are gunning for a fourth consecutive title in 2017.
Ferrari meanwhile are closing in on 10 years without without the same triumph and appear to have their best chance in a decade of breaking that streak after Sebastian Vettel secured victory in Melbourne.
Wolff also revealed they had calculated that Valtteri Bottas missed out on the front row of the grid by less than five centimetres – one thousandth of a second on the timing screens.
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Sun, July 24, 2016
As the Formula 1 Grand Prix revs up for action, Haynes has delved into its extensive archive of imagery which has appeared in its numerous F1 Owner’s Workshop Manuals to give us 16 fascinating F1 Facts.
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Fittipaldi, who took his final Grand Prix win at Silverstone in 1975, said of the car: 'It would tell you what it was going to do before it did it.'
And the team boss admitted that he couldn’t quite believe how close together the two leading teams are given the massive regulation change in F1 over the off-season.
“You can see that Ferrari and us are quite a step ahead of the others,” Wolff added.
“It’s amazing – you invent new rules that are the same for everybody but completely different from last year and you have two cars that are so close to each other.”
The Chinese Grand Prix gets underway tomorrow morning at 7am UK time and you can follow every second of the race with Express Sport’s live blog.