Chinese Grand Prix – The Mercedes team were left to lament the cool temperatures at the Shanghai International Circuit after being outpaced by Ferrari.
Whilst the Ferrari pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen fought for pole position, Mercedes finished the qualifying hour in third and fourth, unable to keep up with their rivals.
Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton finished the session in third and fourth respectively, but were more than half-a-second off Vettel’s pole position time.
Whilst competing against Ferrari in Q2, Mercedes were able to extract strong lap times out of the soft tyres, but struggled to get the ultrasoft tyres into their right operating window.
Speaking after qualifying, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he was hoping for warmer conditions in the race to enable their team to extract more performance from the tyres.
“It has been a complex weekend for us so far,” said Wolff, “on some laps, we have hit the window of tyre performance just right like on the final run in Q2; but more often it has felt like we were chasing that window, especially on the UltraSoft tyre where we have been lacking overall grip.
“On the other hand, Ferrari have been strong in all conditions and on all tyres and this afternoon’s qualifying results reflect as much.
“We can see a number of areas of difference on the GPS traces and we need to analyse those carefully.
“We expect the track temperatures to be much warmer tomorrow and we hope that we have anticipated that change in the right way with the set-up.
“Ferrari and ourselves will start of the soft tyres, which is a strategic variation to the cars right behind us, and should provide one more ingredient for an interesting race.”