After capitalising on a Sebastian Vettel retirement, the Silver Arrows returned to the heights of the podium with a one-two in Russia, ending Ferrari’s recent three-win streak which lifted Mercedes to within touching distance of the Constructors’ Championship.
Mercedes have confirmed that they will be adding “minor upgrades” to aid them in achieving at Suzuka this weekend. Any additional development parts will likely align with the style of the track and its high dependence on downforce, especially throughout the sweeping medium speed corners in the first sector.
Upgrades essential in defending Ferrari challenge
Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff said, “Claiming a one-two in Sochi after three races without a win was a great feeling. We delivered a strong race in Russia, made the most of our opportunities and both Lewis and Valtteri drove flawlessly.”
He added, “However, the win in Sochi doesn’t change the fact that Ferrari had a stronger start to the second part of the season than we did. We’ll bring some minor upgrades to the car in Japan which will hopefully help us take a step in the right direction; however, we know that we need to extract absolutely everything from our car and the tyres if we want to be able to challenge for a win.”
Having led Mercedes to victory at Suzuka at every race since the Hybrid era, Wolff said, “We expect this year to be challenging given the strength of our opponents. It will be a very close battle on track and one that we very much look forward to. Our targets for the final quarter of the season is clear and it’s up to us to make sure we achieve them.”
Both championships in sight
Lewis Hamilton has won the Japanese Grand Prix four of the five times Mercedes have won there, and he will be a leading contender for the race win with the new upgrades added to edge him ever-closer to his sixth World Championship.
Hamilton increased his lead out in front to 73-points ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas last time out in Sochi, whilst his Mercedes team look likely to confirm constructor’s success as they sit 162-points ahead of Italian rivals Ferrari.