Toto Wolff says the rival Ferrari team holds a straight-line speed advantage worth 0.3 seconds in China this weekend, with the deficit being made up by Mercedes through the corners at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Ferrari displayed an impressive straight-line pace at the last race in Bahrain, with Mercedes team boss Wolff revealing that estimates of its worth were reaching as much as half a second per lap.

Wolff explained after the session that he was never complaining about Ferrari's power advantage, saying it was down to the entire package of the team's SF90 car.

"When I read some of the stuff, it looks like a little bit of complaining that we are lacking straight-line speed. I don’t mean that in any way," Wolff said.

"I think the racing car is a package of the power unit and the chassis and you need to get the job done in both of those areas. It is always a combination of drag and power levels. So the way I mean it is not about complaining."

Despite the long back straight in China and a number of other flat-out portions of the track, Mercedes managed to beat Ferrari in qualifying on Saturday, locking out the front row of the grid.

Wolff explained that Mercedes' data showed Ferrari to be running around 0.35 seconds per lap faster on the straights, with the gap being closed on the remainder of the lap.

"What we’ve seen on our tool, it's three-and-a-half tenths that we’re losing on the straights," Wolff said.

"But we’re gaining more in the corners. So that was the difference."

Mercedes enters Sunday's race chasing a third straight one-two finish, but Wolff was wary of its chances given the threat from Ferrari and Red Bull's Max Verstappen behind.

"I think it’s a decent start, it’s important. It’s interesting that you have the two Mercedes in front that are very much keen, each of them to win, and it’s about the championship," Wolff said.

"And then behind you have the battle of the generations with the red ones. And Max will be keen to recover, so I think the start is going to be certainly very exciting, but I hope not too much.

"If you have a decent start, it’s about trying to survive these first few laps."

Asked if Mercedes would plan its start procedure with drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, Wolff said: "I think this is a very important discussion to have.

"We’ve had that discussion since Monza 2014, that was the race after Spa. So it’s part of our normal procedure."

 

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