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Mercedes certain Singapore GP woes not a trend for title run-in

Team boss Toto Wolff confident superior pace of the W06 hasn't evaporated since Monza and they will be back on form at Suzuka

Lewis Hamilton
Image: Mercedes had no answer to Ferrari and Red Bull's speed around the streets of Marina Bay

Toto Wolff is urging Mercedes to "stay calm" in the wake of their shock Singapore GP defeat, with the team boss certain the W06's problems were track specific.

Having proved nearly unbeatable in the first 18 months of F1's new engine era, Mercedes were outpaced by both Ferrari and Red Bull at Marina Bay, with Sebastian Vettel claiming an impressive win to suggest he could yet trouble Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the battle for the world championship.

Mercedes have pointed to tyre trouble for their unexpected slump, but as of Sunday night were still unable to explain exactly why their hitherto dominant W06 was eating up its rubber.

Nonetheless, Wolff, Mercedes' team boss, is convinced that F1's 2015 formbook hasn't completely turned on its head in the space of a fortnight heading into this week's Japanese GP.

Asked if the team understood what had gone wrong, Wolff replied: "No, but we also need to stay calm because it's a very specific circuit.

"The tyre operates differently to many different circuits. We have Suzuka in one week, the car is the same, we haven't lost performance on the car and we just need a methodical approach.

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Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire from the Singapore GP after his car developed a power problem. Here's how it unfolded.

"I'm always on the pessimistic side, but I don't believe you are losing car performance from one race weekend to the other in a dramatic way like we did.

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"Equally, I don't believe that somebody found a second and a half from one weekend to the other. It's the tyre. We've spoken to the drivers and the degradation is just massive - unexplainable for us."

The back-to-back scheduling of the Singapore and Japanese race weekends mean that Mercedes will get an immediate chance to prove Wolff's theory. The fast, sweeping Suzuka circuit should play to the W06's strengths in high-speed corners and last year Mercedes won by half a minute.

Broken clamp stops Lewis
Broken clamp stops Lewis

Failure of minor part in Mercedes engine costs Hamilton podium shot.

The Austrian acknowledges that Ferrari have improved since upgrading their engine, but says Mercedes shouldn't suddenly lose sight of their own strengths.

"We have also seen that already in Monza. When they brought the new engine clearly they made a step forward and they will continue to develop the car," Wolff said. 

"But you shouldn't fall into depression because then you remember Spa when they had a very difficult weekend and the car wasn't good enough for the podium. So we need to stay focused and aware that we have a very solid team, a solid car and a solid engine."

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Ted Kravitz brings you all the latest news following the Singapore Grand Prix.

World championship leader Hamilton suffered his first retirement in over a year on Sunday when his Mercedes suffered a loss of power boost after a small metal clamp worked its way loose.

"It's still 49 points to Sebastian and that is a lot," Wolff said of his driver's title lead over Ferrari. "But it's a bit of a slap and it will make us appreciate victories even more than in the past."

Singapore conclusions
Singapore conclusions

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Don't miss the F1 Midweek Report on Wednesday night at 8.30pm when John Watson and Maurice Hamilton join Anna Woolhouse to discuss the Singapore GP

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