Toto Wolff says Ferrari’s engine performance has become so strong it is now “almost unbeatable” in Formula 1 qualifying sessions. 

Ferrari has claimed the last five pole positions on offer since its resurgence of form since F1’s summer break and can continue its current dominance on a Saturday by making it six on the bounce at this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix. In contrast, Mercedes has not been fastest in a qualifying session since its home race at the German Grand Prix back in July.

Valtteri Bottas ended Friday practice for the Mexican Grand Prix some 0.6s down on pacesetter Sebastian Vettel and admitted the gap to Ferrari was "bigger than expected". 

Asked if Mercedes’ run without a pole is a fair reflection, Wolff replied: “I think it’s an accurate reflection of performance and you can see that the Ferrari on a Saturday is almost unbeatable. 

“They are able to up their game from Friday to Saturday and once all the power kicks in that they have available, it’s very difficult to compensate for the loss in straight line. 

“But I don’t want to diminish their performance with the rest of the chassis either. They just seem to have the strongest car on Saturday. 

“And when it comes to racing on Sunday, the Red Bull and the Mercedes are maybe a tiny bit more competitive at some of the races. 

“Not the high-speed tracks that we’ve seen - but all of the others. We seem to be crawling back a little bit.”

Qualifying is an area in particular that current championship leader Lewis Hamilton wants to improve. Despite winning on nine occasions this year, Hamilton has only managed to claim four poles, with his last coming at the Hockenheimring

“If you look at qualifying, I think that’s an area which has probably been my weakest, even though I feel like I’ve been doing good laps but they’ve not been as good as others. 

“I think the races have obviously been stronger and continued, I guess, on from last year but been very, very strong this season. 

“But then I guess it’s also just been the balance of everything you’re doing outside of the sport, the obstacles you come across in the build-up to the races and just remaining consistent. 

“Punching out these performances each weekend in, weekend out for us guys it’s such a hard task and I think people underestimate and undervalue how hard that is.”