Ferrari easy favourites for Chinese GP because of 'sheer power' - Mercedes

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Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff fears the "sheer power" of Ferrari makes them the team to beat at the Chinese Grand Prix.

The Scuderia powered back into contention in Bahrain literally, with around a 0.4s advantage on the straights of Sakhir allowing Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel to lock-out the front row.

Of course, the race turned out differently also because of the engine as a faulty cylinder injector meant Leclerc lost power and ultimately, the win.

But should the niggling reliability be resolved, Wolff doubts Mercedes' recent dominance in Shanghai can be repeated.

“I would say if they [Ferrari] are able to maintain those power levels on a power sensitive circuit like Shanghai, they are the favourites clearly because the lap time benefit might even be more than in Bahrain," the Austrian said to

Asked what was the prevailing factor for their straight-line advantage, Wolff replied: “It’s not drag, it's sheer power.

“We have seen different power levels in the race and also between the cars. So that needs to be digested now."

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The Mercedes boss did admit, however, that Ferrari's pace in Bahrain was actually more in line with their expectation.

“We expected them to be strong in Melbourne after what we’ve seen in terms of pace in Barcelona testing, so Melbourne was more the surprise than actually Bahrain," Wolff explained.

“Bahrain was very strong, straight-line performance is unbelievable. The power they have displayed is unmatched by anybody. There was, I think in qualifying five tenths on the straights only.

“That is really difficult to compete with. So we have to get used to this level of performance in my opinion and see Melbourne as the outlier.”

China though hasn't always been good to Ferrari, who haven't won since Fernando Alonso in 2013, and team boss Mattia Binotto is keen to see how this year's car copes with the unique corners.

"Here, we have a very long straight and corners that put an uncommon amount of load on the front end," he noted in his preview.

"For our part, we want to verify that the SF90 is also competitive on this type of track and ensure that the reliability problems we had in Bahrain are not repeated.

"As usual, we want to do well and take on our competitors. It will be race number 1000 in the history of Formula 1, which is a further reason to try and excel."