Mercedes is losing as much as 0.6s on the straights compared to Formula 1 rivals Ferrari heading into Canadian Grand Prix qualifying, according to team boss Toto Wolff.

Ferrari ended Friday quickest and translated its pace into Saturday morning as Sebastian Vettel headed another 1-2 finish during Friday practice, with Lewis Hamilton finishing 0.393s off the pace.

Mercedes introduced its first power unit upgrade of the season in Montreal but so far the reigning world champion squad has fallen well short of the top speeds demonstrated by Ferrari throughout practice.

“They've really ramped up their game and looking extremely strong,” Wolff told Sky Sports. “Straight line speed is enormous - we’ve got a fight on our hands.

“We're not really gaining massively in the corners either, so there is a tiny bit we are gaining but you can see just the discrepancy in the straight-line speed on the main straight is just enormous - I think it is 8km now.

“I think they are probably running a little bit less downforce, that will be part of the game, and I think that it is just sheer power.”

Mercedes altered its design philosophy heading into the 2019 in a bid to make improvements in low-speed corners. While it has gone on to win the opening six races, it has struggled to match Ferrari for pure performance at high-speed circuits such as Canada and Bahrain.

“We’ve seen that on tracks like Budapest and Singapore and Monaco we haven’t been performing well and we really tried to understand why that was and dig deep,” Wolff explained.

“We came with a car that is better in the corners, more balanced, not the mighty monster we had anymore on the fast tracks like Silverstone, that was a little bit of a compromise.

“You can see coming here where there is not such a sequence of slow corners, we don’t seem to have an advantage,” he added.

“I think an area of strength now with this 2019 car is that mechanical grip and aerodynamic grip that we are able to generate is really good, it’s just that we are maybe compromising in straight-line speed.

“That is where is we are struggling a bit. In that last session we were losing overall six tenths on the straights, so we need to dig deep and understand what can we do in order to crawl back a little bit.”

But Ferrari chief Mattia Binotto was keen to play down the promising start to the weekend made by his team, and expects Mercedes to challenge for pole position come qualifying.

"I think FP3 engine modes are certainly different between different cars,” he said.

“As usual I’m expecting our competitors to be very very strong in the afternoon.”

Comments

Loading Comments...