Not only that, but they set their times on medium tyres, as opposed to the two Red Bulls who were on softs. Toto Wolff explains the decision
“We were on track to do a 1:17.7 on the medium tyre, and then we took the decision to see how the run on the soft tyre would go in Q3,” the Austrian said.
“Then we would decide whether to take the medium or soft. We decided to go for the medium because the times were slow.
“In hindsight, was it the right decision? I have no idea. Nobody really went much faster in the second run because Max was on an 1:18.2 in his first and then ended on an 1:18.7.”
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Wolff confirms Mercedes’ car is definitely improving.
“I’m not sure we had the fastest car but we made a big step forward. Max had an 1:18.2 that was deleted because of track limits. He probably gained half a tenth maybe, but not more.
“Valtteri had a very good first lap in Q3, so I would say we caught up a lot in qualifying, and maybe we’re even on par.
“We think we have a good racing car. I think it’s just crunching numbers, running in the simulator, trying to understand where the deficits lie and just grinding away.
“Contrary to what is believed, there is never just a silver bullet,” concluded Mercedes’ team boss.