Mercedes’s iron grip on the front of the grid shows no sign of weakening after six all-conquering years.
Their car was impressively quick in both short and long runs, and especially strong through the slower corners of the last sector, a strength of last year.
Team boss Toto Wolff cannot wait for the season to start again, but fears out loud for Max Verstappen at the season kickoff in Austria.
With one week to go, he hopes the problems at Mercedes will be solved so that the team can fight.
“It’s good to get back to work. There is no tension, only expectations. It seems at that moment like a fish is being taken out of the water. Although it is going to be very unusual without appointments and media. Now only lap times and performance count.”
The drivers have to understand the car again, just like the rest of the people in the pit lane. That may take a while. He thinks everyone should take long to get used to the first free practice for.
Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen are always strong here. Verstappen already put the Mercedes drivers on their heels in his first year in 2016 and later achieved two victories. “They are quite a serious contender here. It will be very close. I also expect a tight-knit fight between Red Bull and ourselves for the championship.”
However, the Austrian hopes for optimal conditions that could help. “Please don’t let it get to 35 degrees. The heat and the relative height there are not the strongest point of our engine”. Nevertheless, Mercedes has certainly installed upgrades on the W11. “Hopefully we have learned a lot and are better at managing that problem.”
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F1 2020 NEXT RACE
|Russia ||27 Sep|
|10h00 - 11h30||Free practice 1|
|14h00 - 15h30||Free practice 2|
|11h00 - 12h00||Free practice 3|
|14h00 - 15h00||Qualification|
|14h10 - 16h10||Race|