Toto Wolff hopes Mercedes’ “very good” long-run pace will prove beneficial in the fight against Ferrari during Formula 1’s Canadian Grand Prix. 

Sebastian Vettel outpaced Lewis Hamilton by 0.206s to claim his first pole position of the season in Montreal, as Ferrari dominated the speed charts throughout qualifying. 

Mercedes has calculated Ferrari’s straight-line speed advantage to be worth as much as 0.6s on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve’s long straights, and expects passing opportunities to be limited as a result.

“Credit to Ferrari, they were extremely competitive and Sebastian pulled in an awesome lap, and this is why they deserved to be on pole,” Wolff said. 

“We overall weren’t good enough for pole and we now just need to do the best for the race.

“Our long-runs looked very good, particularly when you look at some of our competitors, whose tyres were melting away. 

“But it’s still about getting past, and if you can’t get past it’s going to be very difficult. But I’m hopeful that out long runs will give us a certain benefit that we need to extract.”

Aside from strategy, Wolff believes the start will prove to be one of Mercedes’ best opportunities to take the fight to Ferrari. 

“The start is an opportunity here and I think if we are able to extract more performance than maybe around the pitstops we can do something,” he explained. 

“But the Medium tyre is going to go for a long time so that becomes a bit of a question-mark. 

"Overall, if you are not able to gain a position at the start for Lewis and for Valtteri [Bottas], it could be a very difficult Sunday.” 

Wolff admits Bottas’ “messy” Q3 session has left Mercedes on the back foot, with the Finn starting sixth behind the likes of Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly, both of whom will start the race on the faster Soft compound. 

“The Renaults and the Hondas have shown quite some straight-line speed,” Wolff added . 

“Ricciardo is starting on Softs I believe, so he will eventually run into trouble in his first stint, Gasly also. 

“We may be able to recover on strategy with those two cars but from the on it’s going to get very difficult.  

“But also with these two you need to consider that within the first 5 to 10 laps they will be very fast.” 

However, Bottas feels the drivers starting ahead of him on Softs might actually play into his advantage. 

“I think it’s a good thing,” he said. “Maybe in the beginning it’s going to be difficult but once the Soft tyres start to drop, as we saw in FP2, then there’s an opportunity. 

“If they would start on the Medium, then I think it would actually more difficult. Them starting with the Softs, they may start dropping after five laps.

“A podium would be positive, from sixth. In a way, we’re lucky we are in a track where overtaking is possible and makes for good races - so we aim to be on the podium and, obviously, the highest the better.”



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