Mercedes explains Suzuka recovery from Malaysia "disaster"

Mercedes believes that cooler temperatures in Japan, allied to changes made to its car ahead of the weekend, were key to it recovering from its Malaysia "disaster".

Mercedes explains Suzuka recovery from Malaysia "disaster"
 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari celebrate in parc ferme
 Toto Wolff, Executive Director Mercedes AMG F1
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 in parc ferme
Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08 celebrates in parc ferme
Toto Wolff, Executive Director Mercedes AMG F1
Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 celebrate in parc ferme

Just a week on from the German car manufacturer chasing answers as to why it did not have the pace in Sepang, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas led the way in qualifying at Suzuka.

Hamilton himself said that the W08 had felt transformed this weekend – as the balance issues that blighted their weekend in Malaysia were gone.

“The car is a lot different this weekend and a lot more enjoyable to drive,” explained Hamilton. “Last weekend was a bit of a disaster but we still got pole, which was unusual.”

Asked if the team understood why it was quicker this weekend, Hamilton added: “I think we have an idea. I think there’s a lot of analysis that’s gone in to understanding it, so I think we do understand, yes.

“It’s not something we can particularly rapidly change, but we’re in a cooler climate here, so that’s definitely one thing that adds to it.”

While the high-speed nature of Suzuka, plus cooler temperatures, have played to the strengths of Mercedes, team boss Toto Wolff says that changes were made to the car thanks to the lessons learned last weekend.

“The bad days makes you progress more, and there was some learning and we changed the car for Suzuka,” said Wolff. “We put it on the track and it was pretty solid, straight from the get go.

“We learned a lot in Malaysia and looked at the data, analysed it. We found ways where we thought we could optimise the car’s setup and it proved to be the right direction.

“Nevertheless it doesn’t solve the underlying issue that there are big swings, not only for us but also for other teams. Others who were competitive in Malaysia were a second off today.”

With warmer weather predicted for Sunday’s race in Japan, Wolff said he was mindful that things could yet swing towards Ferrari.

“We have become a little bit of rain dancers, or wishing for cold weather,” he said. “The heat is something that made us struggle in Singapore and Malaysia, so it plays a role in our thinking and it is certainly not optimal for our car if it were very hot."

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