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Mercedes F1 team must not be 'terrified' by Singapore GP - Wolff

Mercedes heads to the next Formula 1 grand prix in Japan baffled over its performance in Singapore, but neither terrified nor depressed according to its motorsport boss Toto Wolff

Singapore was arguably Mercedes' worst weekend since the introduction of the V6 turbocharged engines last season.

Outpaced by rivals Ferrari and Red Bull, its cars only qualified on row three.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton then retired for the first time in 20 races with a freak engine component failure, while team-mate Nico Rosberg could only manage fourth.

Mercedes believes failing to get the super-soft tyres working around the Marina Bay street circuit was the cause of what Wolff called a "blip", although he conceded it had resulted in "lots of head scratching" inside the team.

"We need to stay calm," said Wolff.

"I'm always on the pessimistic side, but I don't believe we've lost car performance from one weekend to the other in a dramatic way like we did, and equally I don't believe someone found a second and a half from one race to the other.

"It's the tyre. We spoke to the drivers and the degradation was just massive, which is unexplainable for us.

"So it's about analysing it. We believe it to be a circuit specific problem with the tyres where we didn't manage to get the grip.

"It's a very specific circuit, very specific in terms of the way the tyre operates compared to many other circuits.

"This is how you explain these gaps, and we'll have to prove that in Suzuka.

"But the car is the same, we haven't lost performance, we just need a methodical approach and to find the right balance.

"You cannot write it off and say it was a one-off, but on the other side you can't say we are terrified now by this because then you go into panic mode and that would be completely inappropriate and wrong."

Asked by AUTOSPORT whether Mercedes at least felt Ferrari would be closer over the remaining six races, Wolff replied: "Yes, as we've seen in Monza already.

"They brought the new engine [for Monza] and clearly have made a step forward.

"They will continue to develop the car, but we shouldn't fall into depression because you have to remember Spa where they had a very difficult weekend and their car wasn't good enough for a podium.

"We just need to stay focused and aware we are a very solid team with a solid car and a solid engine."

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