Wolff expecting "close battle" with Ferrari and Red Bull on Sunday

13-04-2019 11:20
by Bobby Vincent
Wolff expecting close battle with Ferrari and Red Bull on Sunday

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is still expecting a "close battle" in Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix, after his team completed a front row lockout in the qualifying for the race in Shanghai.

Valtteri Bottas was the quickest on the grid, and will start on pole for the first time in China, whilst Lewis Hamilton came close to his team-mate - but not close enough - and will start just behind the Finn.

Ferrari could only manage P3 and P4 at the Shanghai International Circuit, with Sebastian Vettel edging his team-mate Charles Leclerc on Saturday. Red Bull Racing were the next two, with Max Verstappen finishing fifth and Pierre Gasly in sixth.

"It's great to see both our cars on the front row for the 1000th Grand Prix," Wolff said. "The Ferraris squeezed it all out and were very fast again on the straights, but we were quicker in the corners and that was ultimately how we stayed ahead today.

"Our car looks good in terms of downforce level, but we need to improve our straight-line speed. It is always a combination of power and drag, so we need to leave no stone unturned on the chassis and the power unit to recover a little bit.

"Valtteri was strong all weekend long and put in some good laps in qualifying. Lewis was struggling with the grip before the session and was a few tenths behind this morning, but he did a very good job recovering in the session that mattered.

"We're seeing massive swings from weekend to weekend, even within one team, and it makes this season really interesting. Valtteri was in a class of his own in Melbourne, he struggled in Bahrain, but then he has come back here. For Lewis, it was the other way around; he had some issues in the race in Australia, but was really strong in Bahrain. If you look at Leclerc and Vettel, it's very similar.

"We expect a close battle between Ferrari, Red Bull and ourselves, so we need to keep pushing."

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