Vettel's victory a 'wake-up call' for Mercedes
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Sebastian Vettel's win for Ferrari in Malaysia has set alarm bells ringing for the reigning world champions.
Ferrari beat Mercedes on outright pace in Malaysia, the first time that has happened in the 21 races since the V6 turbos were introduced at the start of last year. It was a drastic turnaround from Melbourne, where Vettel finished 34.5s down on Lewis Hamilton as he led team-mate Nico Rosberg to a dominant one-two finish.
Wolff admits he was surprised to see the raw pace at Ferrari's disposal all weekend.
"No, we didn't expect them to catch us this quickly," Wolff said when asked if he had expected to see such a step from Ferrari. "We were pretty dominant in Melbourne, we are always a little bit sceptical about our own advantage. That we've been caught up by a Ferrari in two weeks, that they beat us fair and square on the track, is a bit of a surprise, but equally a bit of a wake-up call, which is good for us.
"We just need to analyse where in the next couple of days where we want wrong, what we need to improve, whether we need to bring any developments forward, put them on the car quicker, what we are doing about engine number two. And assess that properly. But definitely, we need to increase the pace of our development."
He also admits Mercedes is concerned by what Ferrari's sudden step forward means.
"Yes, that is worrying. In these circumstances here with the high temperatures, they were able to go at a faster pace over long runs than us. We need to analyse why that was the case and it clearly shows it's not going to be an easy one. We've had completely different conditions here. One of the explanations today is the extremely high ambient and tarmac temperatures. We've probably gone a bit too aggressive on set-ups which pushed us into a direction of a three stop, which was pretty clear with all the algorithms."
When asked if Mercedes was panicking, he replied: "No, there is no panic, but we were in a new situation. We were not in control of things. We had new information which was different to what we had assessed over the weekend. Today, things didn't pan out in the way we expected it to pan out. It was clear the winning streak was not going to go on forever."