Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is hopeful the staff may have tempo to return to the rostrum at this weekend’s season-ending Abu Dhabi GP, as they goal to carry off Ferrari for second place within the Constructors’ Championship.
Mercedes’ benefit over their Italian rivals has come down to only 4 factors – the identical because it was after 2023’s season-opening race in Bahrain again in March – after a Las Vegas GP race day which didn’t go their method regardless of the W14 exhibiting much-improved tempo in comparison with the race earlier than in Brazil.
Lewis Hamilton, who completed seventh, twice misplaced floor in unlucky collisions whereas George Russell noticed fourth place become eighth by a five-second penalty for colliding with Max Verstappen.
Ferrari completed second with Charles Leclerc and sixth with Carlos Sainz, that means they outscored Mercedes by 16 factors to deliver themselves into putting distance within the standings for Sunday’s Abu Dhabi finale.
“Unhappy to say one more time that we had tempo however simply no end result,” Wolff informed Sky Sports activities F1 about Mercedes’ Las Vegas GP.
“George after the incident with Verstappen, the place he acquired the penalty, that was just about sport over. [The car had] tempo for the entrance. Possibly not [to challenge] Max, however behind. It’s what it’s.”
On Abu Dhabi, Wolff added: “We now have seen pace-ish right this moment. I believe we hopefully can get well and rating strong podiums.”
Two years on from the controversial conclusion to the 2021 drivers’ title race in Abu Dhabi, when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton began stage on factors, Wolff, in a thinly veiled swipe at former race director Michael Masi, added to the written media: “We’re going there just about on equal factors – with a correct race director, in order that must be advantageous – and let’s race.
“It is all right down to the final weekend. They’re very fast, they’ve finished a very good job. I believe we may have been on par [in the Las Vegas race] however the end result exhibits one thing totally different. So let’s race.
“To be trustworthy, it is good to have P2 as a Positive to complete the season, however P2, P3 for me, that it would not make it higher for me.”
Mercedes vs Ferrari in F1 2023
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With Purple Bull completely dominant this season, Mercedes and Ferrari – the winners of 24 constructors’ titles between them – have needed to revise their pre-season targets downwards and every attempt to at the very least safe the following greatest place on supply, even when, as Wolff alludes, ending second will in the end not be trigger for specific celebration.
However along with sporting delight, there are helpful prize cash concerns too – the distinction between second and third within the Constructors’ Championship is considered within the area of $10m.
Since overtaking fast-starting Aston Martin for second within the groups’ standings at June’s Spanish GP, Mercedes have seen their benefit over third place fluctuate amid the season’s unpredictable race-to-race pecking order behind Purple Bull.
Ferrari had been a season-high 56 factors behind Mercedes after July’s Hungarian GP however have whittled that hole down to only 4 within the 10 races since.
After a problematic begin to the yr, staff boss Frederic Vasseur says the way in which the factors hole has come down exhibits Ferrari are on a “good path”. However he additionally made clear, that whereas Vegas went nicely for them, “Abu Dhabi can be one other story”.
“4 factors is nothing or lots,” added Vasseur.
“We had been capable of carry out in Monza, in Singapore, in Austin, in Mexico, throughout this weekend on totally different tracks with totally different race circumstances, totally different [tyre] compounds, and we could be greater than motivated earlier than Abu Dhabi.
“The momentum is for us and let’s have a look at what occurs.”
The battle is a task reversal of final yr when it was Ferrari who had been defending second from Mercedes going into the Abu Dhabi finale, albeit holding a bigger 19-point lead. Nevertheless, the Scuderia outscored their rivals at Yas Marina to substantiate the runner-up Purple Bull.
Which automobile will Abu Dhabi swimsuit?
Ferrari’s superior straight-line velocity can be vital once more at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit, so they are going to be very fast within the first half of the lap which additionally options the Flip 5 hairpin, the place Max Verstappen overtook Hamilton within the controversial 2021 Grand Prix, and the Flip Six-Seven chicane.
One in all Ferrari’s largest strengths is traction out of the gradual corners, so they are going to even be a risk to Purple Bull as soon as once more right here.
It is the second half of the lap which options extra flowing, medium-speed turns which ought to deliver Mercedes again into play. Nevertheless, the corners had been opened up forward of the 2021 race, so the ultimate sector is just not that technical anymore.
Total, Ferrari are going to have the outright tempo, notably over one lap, and it is only a case of will there be sufficient tyre put on for Mercedes to come back again at Leclerc and Sainz over an extended stint.
Sky Sports activities F1’s dwell Abu Dhabi GP schedule
Thursday November 23
- 11am: Drivers’ Press Convention
Friday November 24
- 7am: F2 Apply
- 9am: Abu Dhabi GP Apply One (session begins at 9.30am)
- 10.55pm: F2 Qualifying
- 12.45pm: Abu Dhabi GP Apply Two (session begins at 1pm)
- 2.15pm: The F1 Present
Saturday November 25
- 10.15am: Abu Dhabi GP Apply Three
- 12.15pm: F2 Dash
- 1.15pm: Abu Dhabi GP Qualifying build-up
- 2pm: Abu Dhabi GP Qualifying
- 4pm: Ted’s Qualifying Pocket book
Sunday November 26
- 9.10am: F2 Function Race
- 11.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday Abu Dhabi GP build-up
- 1pm: The ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX
- 3pm: Chequered Flag: Abu Dhabi GP response
- 4pm: Ted’s Pocket book
After the thrills of Las Vegas, Formulation 1 heads to Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit for the 2023 season finale and one other gorgeous spectacle underneath the lights. Watch the Abu Dhabi weekend dwell on Sky Sports activities F1, with lights out on Sunday at 1pm. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW