Mercedes believes that an off-weekend for Ferrari, rather than a leap in performance from itself, was behind its dominant form in the Italian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton snatched the lead of the Formula 1 world championship from Sebastian Vettel at Monza, after leading home teammate Valtteri Bottas in a crushing Mercedes 1-2.
And after Vettel ended up 36 seconds adrift at the chequered flag in third place, Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne said his outfit had ‘screwed up’ after its encouraging form in Belgium.
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff said it was obvious that Ferrari had faced a lot of pressure in Italy, as he suggested it somehow could not unleash speed in the car that had been present at other tracks.
Reacting to Marchionne’s comments, Wolff said: “Emotions run high and when you have a bad day you can’t hide it. For me, it looks like this weekend Ferrari has made a step back somehow.
“I think we were very solid but also they haven’t performed in the way everyone expected. Red Bull starting from the back of the grid almost finished P3.
“There’s just something that’s out of sync here, something that’s not how it should be. So I can understand they are upset about it.”
Wolff did believe, however, that his team’s performance was aided by extra work his engineering team had done to understand why Ferrari had been so close in Belgium.
“Spa wasn’t as obvious and I think the job the guys did analysing the deficits we had there was really awesome,” he said. “Straight from the get-go we had a car that was really solid. Good to drive.
"In qualifying there were so many opportunities to make a mistake. But the car was good straight from the get go. Lots of grip, good margin, and the same in the race.
"We have proved that we have recovered well from Budapest and in a certain sense, from Spa and are progressing with the car.”
To further add to Ferrari’s headache, Wolff also said that Hamilton and Bottas had both sacrificed potential performance in Italy by turning their engines down.
“We were looking at the damage matrix within the engine and trying to find a sensible way of letting them race but equally not damaging the engine too much,” he said.
“But you could see that they were pushing quite a bit. Lewis running wide in the second chicane so we are very well aware that towards the end of the season the mileage on the engine can be crucial. So therefore we turned it down a bit.”