Lewis Hamilton topped Q3 on Saturday at Istanbul Park, however will drop to 11th on the grid because of a penalty for an engine change previous to the race weekend.
It means Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas will begin from pole on Sunday forward of Purple Bull’s Max Verstappen, who doubted he may problem Mercedes for the race win.
Hamilton felt that successful the race could be “very laborious from 11th, however not inconceivable” as he seems to be to guard his two-point lead over Verstappen within the drivers’ championship.
After struggling to struggle Purple Bull for outright tempo by way of the races in June and July, Mercedes seems to have taken a step ahead for the reason that summer season break.
Group boss Wolff felt Mercedes had “progressively understood the automobile higher” to permit it to struggle Purple Bull extra after dropping a lot of its benefit within the winter adjustments to the technical laws.
“The laws that got here in at first of the 12 months created a scenario the place you run the automobile the place we have not been working in the previous few years,” Wolff mentioned.
“The extra we run it, the extra we drive, the extra we may simulate conditions, the higher we have now carried out.
“So in the present day we might have been first and second on the highway with a strong margin, however sadly Lewis has to return.
“The great a part of the day is that we have now tempo, and there’s six plus one races to go, and the place the automobile is in the present day is certainly in a greater place than it was within the spring and the summer season.”
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12
Picture by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images
Bottas will enter Sunday’s race seeking to finish a win drought that dates again to final 12 months’s Russian Grand Prix after inheriting pole from Hamilton.
However Wolff dismissed the thought of going into the race with a plan to make use of Bottas to help Hamilton’s restoration by way of the sector.
“Valtteri’s going to race his race tomorrow,” Wolff mentioned.
“That is in regards to the race win and Valtteri’s win, and the workforce’s win, and we’re not going to do any bunching up.”
Wolff conceded that it was “a little bit of a setback” for Mercedes that many of the top-10 had opted to qualify on mediums, that means Hamilton didn’t have a technique offset in opposition to the vehicles round him.
“However it’s what it’s, he can solely attempt to do the utmost, and I would not need to have some other driver within the automobile when it’s about overtaking and going by way of the sector than Lewis,” Wolff mentioned.
“Having mentioned that, yesterday we simulated a few of these conditions, and it is very troublesome to observe in site visitors, a phenomenon we have now seen all 12 months, however might be one thing that we have to struggle tomorrow.
“There won’t be many choices left than to strive with technique, and clearly hope that the entrance prepare is just not disappearing into the gap.”