Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted Ferrari is gaining half a second on the straights at Hockenheim which he sees as a stark warning to his team for the remainder of the Formula 1 season.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel stormed to pole position for the German Grand Prix by over two-tenths of a second ahead of Valtteri Bottas for Mercedes using the Italian manufacturer’s latest engine specification which was introduced in Canada last month.

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Wolff pinpointed the biggest deficit coming on the straights against Ferrari, thought to be a qualifying mode available with the latest specification engine, which also saw five out of the six Ferrari-powered cars reach Q3 in Germany.

“They have a great power unit, huge performances,” Wolff said. “We were looking good through all kinds of corners but we are not able to match their straight-line performance.

“Valtteri was exceptional in the third sector, this is why he was even closer to pole position but we just have to look at things and try to improve.

“To be precise it was five-tenths [deficit] on the straights. It’s not expected but in Formula 1 you need to expect everything and we need to found out how we can increase our power output and I want not one thing is second, I want to look at Ferrari but I want to look at ourselves.”

Despite dominating all previous seasons of F1 in the V6 Hybrid era, Mercedes has claimed just three wins in the opening half of this year along with five pole positons from a possible 11.

“I want to look at Mercedes and say is there anything that we’ve missed,” Wolff explained. “How can we increase our power output on the ICE or electrically or from the battery or from the H, whatever we can look at in order to have more power.

“If we want to win this championship or stay in the hunt of the championship we’ve got a severe warning today in terms of what we’ve seen.”

Ferrari pulled level with Mercedes on total pole positions this year with Vettel taking his fifth of the season at Hockenheim, while the Italian manufacturer edges the wins count with four compared to Mercedes and Red Bull on three each heading into the German GP.

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