Mercedes surprised by Ferrari's lack of pace

Mon May 2, 2016 2:07am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Ferrari are still waiting to take the fight to Formula One champions Mercedes after a Russian Grand Prix that left even their dominant rivals surprised by the gap in performance.

"We've always said that they've been close but this weekend they were not close at all," Mercedes winner and championship leader Nico Rosberg told reporters after his seventh win in succession on Sunday.

"We were really far ahead this weekend and that's been impressive to see."

Rosberg said the unique characteristics of the Sochi asphalt might have accounted for some of the advantage but Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene was not looking for excuses.

His post-race telephone conversation with hard-minded company president Sergio Marchionne was not going to give him any pleasure either.

"For sure he is not going to be amused," said the Italian.

Even bad luck, with four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel taken out at the start when Red Bull's Russian Daniil Kvyat twice drove into the back of him, could not hide the failings.

Vettel was seventh on the grid, and next to Kvyat, only because of a penalty for an earlier gearbox failure and replacement.   Continued...

Mercedes F1 driver Nico Rosberg of Germany (C) jumps on the podium as he celebrates victory during the Russian Grand Prix.   REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov