“It will be a matter of introducing more development, solving more issues, not making mistakes and having good reliability. They will all be key.”
Wolff’s assessment of Ferrari is that it has “a car for all tracks,” but that in particular it has “great straight-line performance.”
“The power they have gained over the last four months is very special, and something that gives us another target.
“Us having a slight edge last year, and them having a slight edge this year, is maybe a true reflection. They’ve just done a very good job, increasing the performance in every single area. We just need to push ourselves to regain that edge, to be ahead again.”
Wolff said the team enjoyed the competition.
“We’ve won four championships, we’ve tried to stay humble, we know we’ve had difficult moments in the past, but equally, we respect them greatly,” he said. “They will have had a lot of pain they will want to overcome, and that is a good driving force.”
Ferrari and Vettel are now under pressure. Vettel, in particular, has made mistakes during grands prix in Azerbaijan, France, Germany and Italy that have proved costly. Hamilton, on the other hand, has been almost faultless, displaying a maturity that continues to impress Wolff.
“He is growing with the challenge, and if you need to rise to the challenge then you become better,” Wolff said. “If it is smooth sailing, it is like playing tennis with someone who is worse than you, then it’s a dreadful game. If you play against someone really good, then you can play better than your level.
“Right now this is a very exciting season because this is what the sport is all about. It all comes down to a fantastic rivalry — two brands and two four-time world champions separated by only a few points after two-thirds of the season. It doesn’t get much better than that in any sport.”