Lewis Hamilton topped Q3 on Saturday at Istanbul Park, however will drop to eleventh on the grid because of a penalty for an engine change previous to the race weekend.
It means Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas will begin from pole on Sunday forward of Purple Bull’s Max Verstappen, who doubted he might problem Mercedes for the race win.
Hamilton felt that profitable the race could be “very onerous from eleventh, however not unimaginable” as he appears to guard his two-point lead over Verstappen within the drivers’ championship.
After struggling to battle Purple Bull for outright tempo by the races in June and July, Mercedes seems to have taken a step ahead because the summer season break.
Group boss Wolff felt Mercedes had “regularly understood the automobile higher” to permit it to battle Purple Bull extra after shedding a lot of its benefit within the winter modifications to the technical laws.
“The laws that got here in firstly of the yr created a scenario the place you run the automobile the place we’ve not been working in the previous few years,” Wolff stated.
“The extra we run it, the extra we drive, the extra we might simulate conditions, the higher we’ve carried out.
“So right this moment we’d have been first and second on the street with a strong margin, however sadly Lewis has to return.
“The good a part of the day is that we’ve tempo, and there’s six plus one races to go, and the place the automobile is right this moment is unquestionably in a greater place than it was within the spring and the summer season.”
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12
Photograph by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images
Bottas will enter Sunday’s race trying to finish a win drought that dates again to final yr’s Russian Grand Prix after inheriting pole from Hamilton.
However Wolff dismissed the thought of going into the race with a plan to make use of Bottas to help Hamilton’s restoration by the sphere.
“Valtteri’s going to race his race tomorrow,” Wolff stated.
“That is in regards to the race win and Valtteri’s win, and the staff’s win, and we’re not going to do any bunching up.”
Wolff conceded that it was “a little bit of a setback” for Mercedes that a lot of the top-10 had opted to qualify on mediums, which means Hamilton didn’t have a method offset towards the vehicles round him.
“However it’s what it’s, he can solely attempt to do the utmost, and I would not need to have another driver within the automobile when it’s about overtaking and going by the sphere than Lewis,” Wolff stated.
“Having stated that, yesterday we simulated a few of these conditions, and it’s totally tough to observe in visitors, a phenomenon we’ve seen all yr, however could possibly be one thing that we have to battle tomorrow.
“There won’t be many choices left than to attempt with technique, and clearly hope that the entrance practice is just not disappearing into the space.”