Mercedes was expected to dominate the Barcelona testing as the W09 upgrade was considered as one of the fastest cars ever, however their lap time was close to a second off Ferrari’s, who ended testing as the fastest team.
Vettel even questioned Mercedes’ strategy as they went in with just medium tyres during race simulations which couldn’t be done during actual race days as you had to use more than one compound. Thus. according to Vettel, Mercedes actually did not have a race-like simulation during the entire testing period, thereby questioning their strategy.
Toto Wolff though has dismissed concerns of a strategic goof up, saying that Mercedes infact meant to do their testing the way they did.
“We decided not to use the hypersoft because we felt it is a tyre that is usable for one lap only, and that in testing it is about collecting data and understanding set-ups,” Wolff said.
“The hypersoft is just an additional big step in grip from the ultrasoft. It will be a qualifying tyre, and we felt that we would rather concentrate on the development work than on single lap.
“I think the hyper will be a qualifying tyre only, and you just need to hang onto it in the first couple of laps, and survive.” he added.
Wolff believes that with blisters seen on all almost all soft tyres, races this year could get really interesting for the fans.
However, Wolff feels that Pirelli’s estimates might actually be wrong. Pirelli had estimated big steps between each compound but that actually might not be the case.
“What we have seen is that the steps in performance and in grip between the tyre compounds was relatively small,” he said.
“Between medium and soft, soft and supersoft, supersoft and ultrasoft you could see tiny steps, between a tenth or two, sometimes no step at all.
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“With some teams, like Williams, there was no step at all.” Wolff added.
So, according to Wolff, Mercedes can go faster, much faster and that should be a reason to worry for all other teams.