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Ferrari engine compromise helping us, says Mercedes

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Ferrari engine compromise helping us, says Mercedes
By:
Apr 19, 2016, 3:19 PM

Mercedes believes its form at the Chinese Grand Prix was flattered by Ferrari having to detune its engine because of fears over reliability.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF16-H
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF16-H and Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 battle for position
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07
Podium: winner Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team
Winner Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07
Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director
Podium: second place Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF16-H

Ferrari was knocked off the front-row by Red Bull at Shanghai and then a first corner clash between Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen effectively ended its hopes of taking the fight to Nico Rosberg.

But despite Rosberg's dominance as he took his third straight victory of the season, Mercedes is taking nothing for granted – as it feels Ferrari's true potential was not seen.

Motorsport boss Toto Wolff said: “What we have seen from Ferrari is that they were a little bit conservative with the engine this weekend, more conservative than in Bahrain. And it is just a matter of time before they are back to their form on engine performance.

“They tripped over each other at the start, which heavily compromised their race. Vettel's wing was damaged twice throughout the race, and I think his front wing endplate fell off.

“So if you consider where they were after lap one, and that they ended two or four, that must be a satisfying result for them. We see them as a strong competitor and a threat.”

Not favourites

Although Mercedes has grabbed three poles and three wins this year, Wolff is well aware that the long season means the situation can change dramatically.

When asked if he felt Mercedes was now firm favourite, he said: “No. Because even if you try to tackle it scientifically and you count probability, it is better not to go there.

“It is three out of 21 so statistically there is so much more to come that you cannot speak about any favourite.”

Wolff also thinks that with the season being so long, even the situation between Rosberg and team-mate Lewis Hamilton is far from fixed.

“At this stage of the season it is about collecting points without looking at the championship. The gap is substantial, but it is very early days for the championship.

“There are three races done, 18 races to go, and he [Hamilton] is mentally very strong. So I have no doubt that it will be close in the end.”

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