Mercedes are worried they could struggle at the Russian Grand Prix as the track’s surface is similar to Singapore’s where they were well off the pace.
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg qualified down in fifth and sixth respectively, whilst Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position by more than a second.
Mercedes blamed the track surface and its inability to get Pirelli’s Supersoft and Soft compounds working effectively. The same two compounds will be use in Sochi, prompting fears of a Singapore repeat.
“Thank God we came out of the Singapore trauma and we are back, that’s all I can say,” Niki Lauda said of their Japanese GP 1-2.
“It’s a big relief we are back where we should be, this is very simple. We are doing what we should do.
“But the championship is not over because my worry is this next race at Sochi has Singapore-type asphalt.
“So it’s not done and not that easy. We have to work hard, stay competitive and then we are looking good, but you only look good when it is done.”
Meanwhile Mercedes executive technical director Paddy Lowe shares Lauda’s concerns, but is hopeful they can plan for every eventuality.
“This was a tricky weekend last season, with a new circuit to learn and fresh Tarmac which produced slightly unusual behaviour from the tyres,” he said.
“This year we have moved one step softer on the compounds to bring the soft and supersoft into play – perhaps influenced by Nico running almost the entire race last year on a single set of tyres.
“One year on, the track surface will have weathered differently so we must ensure we have all eventualities covered.”