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Wolff sees big challenge ahead for Mercedes

Mercedes Singapore Wolff
© XPB 

Mercedes-AMG F1 boss Toto Wolff is preparing for a difficult weekend, expecting his team to take on the role of the underdog at Singapore's challenging Marina Bay street circuit.

Back-to-back victories at Spa and Monza have put Lewis Hamilton in command of the title fight with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, albeit by just three points.

But Mercedes has struggled this season at low-downforce venues compared to its Scuderia rival although its W08 has gradually improved over the course of the year.

Still, past performance by the Silver Arrows in Singapore has been marked by inconsistency or downright defeat, as in 2015 when Ferrari and Red Bull crushed the German outfit. So Wolff is naturally guarded.

"It is a circuit that we have found difficult to master," said the Austrian in the team's race preview.

"We head to Asia with the expectation that we have a big challenge ahead of us.

"As we have pushed to become better and stronger in every area, we have put the finger in the wound in order to understand the root causes of both our good performances and the bad ones," added Wolff.

"In 2015, Singapore provided us with one of the most painful experiences in recent seasons, so we rolled up the sleeves, learned from it and managed to bounce back with a great win last year.

"So far this year, we have seen the pendulum swing according to circuit type."

While Wolff is wary of the team's relative performance against Ferrari in Singapore, the Mercedes boss believes Red Bull will also be a contender around the Marina Bay circuit.

"On the surface, Singapore is the kind of circuit that should favour both Ferrari and Red Bull.

"Both have shown strong performance on low-speed circuits demanding maximum downforce, and we have found life more difficult at those places in 2017.

"Sometimes, characteristics like this are simply in the DNA of a car. Nevertheless we learned a lot from our struggles in Monaco, raised our level of performance significantly in Hungary and we have made good progress in understanding what we need to do in order to get the most from the chassis."

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