Mercedes wary of tyre issues in Russia

Mercedes is heading to this weekend's Russian Grand Prix mindful of the possibility of fresh tyre headaches, as the softer range of compounds return.

The Brackley-based team is well aware that Pirelli has opted for the same super-soft and soft compounds that it struggled so badly on in Singapore last month.

Allied to that is the fact that the Sochi track proved particularly tricky for teams last year, as the freshly laid asphalt delivered little grip and allowed Nico Rosberg to complete almost a full race distance on one set of tyres.

That is why Mercedes executive director Paddy Lowe has said that the team must be full ready for anything to ensure that there is no repeat of its Singapore dramas.

"This was a tricky weekend last season, with a new circuit to learn and fresh tarmac which produced slightly unusual behaviour from the tyres," he said.

"This year we have moved one step softer on the compounds to bring the soft and supersoft into play - perhaps influenced by Nico running almost the entire race last year on a single set of tyres.

"One year on, the track surface will have weathered differently so we must ensure we have all eventualities covered."

Rosberg not giving up

Although Lewis Hamilton looks on course to take his third world championship title this year, teammate Rosberg has not yet conceded defeat.

Rosberg believes there are still opportunities for him to turn things around, despite a widening gap in the constructors' championship.

"Once I got back from Japan, I was able to focus on the positive elements from my weekend in Suzuka: pole position, the on-track pass on [Valtteri] Bottas and then having the speed to undercut [Sebastian] Vettel's Ferrari at the second pit-stop," he said.

"I'm not backing down in my fight for the championship and gaining those positions back fair and square showed that.

"We have five races to go and, although the championship gap to Lewis is quite big, in my mind it's definitely not over yet.

"The way the whole team has performed this year - from the factories to the garage - has been just incredible and I have the car I need to get back to the top step."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Russian GP
Track Sochi Autodrom
Teams Mercedes
Article type Breaking news