Sunday, 12 august 2018, 06:54 , by Matthew Scott
Mercedes are confident that they are finding the solution to a key weakness as a thrilling title race with Ferrari looks set to play out deep into the 2018 Formula 1 season. Even through the Silver Arrows' dominant years, hot tracks and tyre wear have been weaknesses, but Toto Wolff says a breakthrough has been made.
Understanding tyres has been an issue throughout Mercedes' time since returning to F1 in 2010, and it often cost them points before mastering the V6 Hybrid power units gave them a massive advantage.
Lewis Hamilton's victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix before the summer break may be a key turning point though.
Not only did it move the Briton 24 points ahead of Sebastian Vettel, but it was executed on a scorching Budapest track, with temperatures regularly in the fifties Celsius - something that hasn't gone unnoticed by the team.
"Free air plays a big role but it's a little bit of a mystery that sometimes you perform on a tyre and not on the other one. I think it was the other way around with Ferrari," Wolff explained.
"More data to collect, more to understand, but the prevailing, overarching feeling for us is that we won the race in Budapest with 60-degree track temperature.
"That was something we would have not thought could be achievable for us. That gives me a good feeling that we have understood more and we can be more competitive in the hot races in the future."
Perhaps keen to maintain focus in Mercedes' team as they chase a fifth double title win in succession, Hamilton says the solution remains elusive.
"If you look at some of the comments from the last race, it was 'oh Mercedes all of a sudden knows, this race they've made the tyres last', which is not the case," Hamilton said.