Mercedes sure Ferrari now set the 'benchmark' in F1

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff claims Ferrari's pace at the Russian GP proves they are now the "benchmark" team in Formula 1.

The German manufacturer maintained their 100% win record in Sochi with a 1-2 finish on Sunday, but it only came after their Italian rivals saw a dominant weekend implode with an MGU-K issue for Sebastian Vettel causing a Virtual Safety Car that then ruined Charles Leclerc's victory chances.

That success actually prevented Mercedes from suffering their longest winless run in the hybrid era, having lost the past three races to Ferrari but based on the gains the Scuderia have made, Wolff is sure his team has fallen behind.

"They [Ferrari] continue to make big steps in straight-line performance and they’ve had a good car in Singapore, a very good car here in Sochi, so if you put the two together you set the benchmark and that is what they did the past two weekends," he said.

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"At the same time, we haven’t brought upgrades to the car in a long time and we haven't managed things as optimum as we could have, but we have also been unlucky, we could have won some the past races and we didn’t, but we know that bad luck turned into good luck today."

With the current battle likely to continue, as Mercedes won't be bringing any more big updates for the rest of 2019, Wolff claims this signifies an end to their dominance in F1.

 

“I think that what is important, and the successful teams have done it in all sports, is that there is no team that will win every game or every race so you need to be able to stand up, pick yourself up, keep the morale high whilst understanding that this is a pressure situation and this is exactly where we find ourselves,” he explained.

“We are trying to look at it from the positive side and see it as a challenge. We are the challengers now and we have got to catch up.

“But I think we are getting there and it is a fun situation. This is like it was in 2013, the difference is that we are still leading the championship.”

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