Mercedes expect larger gap to rivals in Japan

With the top nine in qualifying covered by just over half a second and the top five within a quarter of a second of Lewis Hamilton’s pole position, Red Bull and Ferrari declared they’d made progress.

Mercedes however believe it was a track specific issue, partly down to it not being a power circuit and partly because they believe they were wearing through their tyres quicker.

“Singapore is a unique track and the overheating of the tyres was at its highest, maybe compared to all the other tracks with the supersoft tyre,” explained Nico Rosberg.

The German, who retired from the race, expects a return to ‘business as usual’ at the remaining five races.

“Definitely the others were close, but if we remember Austria, for example, the Williams were quicker than us in qualifying and then after that different tracks came and we were looking really strong again,” he added.

“We need to wait and see how it is the next couple of races [before we panic].

“I still think we’re looking good, and hopefully the next tracks will suit our car better and we can pull away again.”