Mercedes warns it could be even stronger in Malaysian GP

lewis hamilton and nico rosberg

Mercedes could be even more dominant in the second race of the Formula 1 season in two weeks’ time, according to its motorsport boss Toto Wolff.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg locked out the front row in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix, with nearest challenger Felipe Massa’s Williams more than one second off the pole position time.

The pair then raced to an unchallenged one-two finish, over half-a-minute ahead of third-placed Sebastian Vettel.

But with the team confident in the fast-corner performance of its car aerodynamically, Wolff suspects the gap could be larger.

“Potentially yes,” he said when asked if he expected the gap to be larger at Sepang.

“Aero-wise, we are doing well and on the power unit side we are doing well; the integration went well.”

While much of the focus has been on the strength of the engine package, the 2015 Mercedes is a formidable car aerodynamically.

Although the car builds on the success of last year’s design, there have been substantial changes under the skin, which have allowed major strides to be taken aerodynamically.

Wolff said earlier in the Australian GP weekend that these gains mean that the W06 is not superior to its closest rivals in terms of top speed.

“We see a deficit from our car on the straights compared with the Williams and Ferrari,” he said.

“Both of them have much more straight-line speed, by much more I mean we’ve seen 10-12km/h difference at the last track [testing at Barcelona].

“The most difference we see is in high-speed corners – downforce – that seems to be the strength of the car.

“It used to be the strength of the Red Bulls, it’s now where we seem to have the most.”

Wolff stressed that this increased performance is the result of the team’s hard work over the winter.

But the Austrian also warned that what happened in Australia – the team’s 12th one-two finish in 20 races since the start of 2014 – cannot be expected to be the norm.

“This was a perfect weekend, a faultless car, faultless drivers and then you have a result with one and two,” he said.

“I don’t think you can expect that to go on like this.

“The team is really synchronised. I have the feeling I am more tired now after the winter than I was at the end of last season and you can see the result.”

Australian GP runner-up Nico Rosberg admitted after the race that he recognised the importance of closer competition at the front of the field.


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