Russian GP: Qualifying team notes - Mercedes

Russian GP: Qualifying team notes - Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton nailed his lap and this just shows that the Ferrari vehicle is just that bit quicker now after their recent updates.

"But we made some decent learning steps during the day and if we carry on in that direction, then things should look brighter tomorrow". "I think the reversed grid is a bit desperate - and I don't think we're in a desperate time at all".

"I can't go into details", said Bottas on Thursday. You get to see a fight all the time, but you become less excited and less interested because it's always in front of you.

Toto Wolff: We extracted everything from our package today, so I'm really happy with our performance, but we're losing seven or eight tenths to the Ferraris on the straights and there's only so much you can do against that.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen joined the fray there, beating Lewis Hamilton to the final podium spot, and Mercedes are expecting their Italian rivals and the Milton Keynes-based former champions to once again mix it in the fight at the front.

But Alex Albon crashed the other Red Bull in Q1 and will start from the back row at the Sochi Autodrom. "We're quite clearly a little bit out of step with the other teams in terms of our first-lap performance on a track where we've traditionally found it a bit hard to get the front tyres to the temperature we need them". He also ensured that there would not be a team order game like he had done last season. Sebastian Vettel has been out-qualified by his team mate for the tenth time now.

"The fact that now they're trying a reverse grid and all that it just seems to me like, it feels like an excuse for not doing a good enough job in the decision process", he claimed. "It definitely feels great to be back on pole but I don't know if it's the best track to start on pole", said Leclerc after lapping the Olympic Park circuit in one minute 31.628 seconds on the fastest soft-compound tyres.

A one-stop strategy has traditionally been quickest in Russian Federation but the jury is out on whether it is best to start on softs or medium, and for how long to run, before going to harder rubber.

While powerful Ferrari will still be the favourites to remain ahead by the end of that long run to Turn Two, Mercedes have widened their strategic options for the longer distance by ensuring both their cars will start on the medium tyre.

"It is not my job to worry but we are conscious of the position we are in", Hamilton added.

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