Mercedes expects Abu Dhabi to be “much more difficult” after big win RaceFans

Mercedes predicts that it will be difficult to repeat their great victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix in this weekend’s season finale.

The team locked out the front row of the grand prix grid at Interlagos and took a one-two finish in the race, led by George Russell.

However, the first-time race winner suspects the team will not be as competitive at Yas Marina as it was at Interlagos.

“Going to Abu Dhabi, I think we will probably be similar to, my gut tells me, Ferrari. I think maybe a small step behind Red Bull.”

Mercedes also had great pace at the previous Grand Prix in Mexico, but compromised its race performance by choosing harder compound tires than its Red Bull rivals.

“I think the last couple of races have been pretty slow tracks and that’s where we’ve excelled this season,” Russell said. “But the progress we’ve made as a team has been incredible.

“Since Austin, as a team, we have fought for the win, or had a chance to win, in every race. So the momentum that has given us all and the confidence that has given us all at the factory, the factory is going to be pumping through the winter.

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“We are going to give everything we have to go out in that first test with a car that can compete from the first race.”

Team principal Toto Wolff also doubts that the Yas Marina circuit will suit the Mercedes W13. “I think Abu Dhabi on paper is much more difficult for us as well because we are still too slow,” he said. “But we know why.”

I think we know why we were better [here]”, he added. “Do we know why we were so far ahead of everyone this weekend? We do not.

Lewis Hamilton, who was in second place after losing time in a collision with Max Verstappen, said the team’s improvement in recent races was “a great, great sign”.

“For a long, long period of time, we couldn’t really understand what the problem was or how to fix it,” he admitted.

“And it was difficult, because we kept trying and trying and every time something new came along, we still had the problems that we had.

“So this is really huge. We know where our polar star is, we know where we should put all our efforts for this winter. I am very proud of the team for all the incredible hard work.”

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