Mika Hakkinen has warned Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton they must find engine performance to compete with Ferrari ahead of the Russian Grand Prix.
Hamilton leads the world Championship from team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 65 points but Hakkinen believes Mercedes will be concerned about the pace Ferrari have shown since the summer break in F1.
He said (via SportsMail): “Mercedes faces the problem in finding even more performance from its impressive engines, which is essential to match Ferrari’s pace on the straights, and remaining calm when under pressure. Having dominated Formula 1 for five years, the team is not used to being beaten to pole position and overtaken during races.
“Reacting to the competition is important, but it is also important not to overreact. Attention now turns, only a few days later, to Sochi for the Russian Grand Prix. This is a track where Mercedes has really dominated since the hybrid era of Formula 1 began in 2014.
“They have won all five Russian Grands Prix, with Lewis winning 3 times, Valtteri in 2017 and Nico Rosberg back in 2016. The reigning World Champions currently lead both World Championships by a long way but they will arrive in Sochi feeling genuine pressure.
“Ferrari has the performance needed to take the fight to Mercedes this weekend. Both their drivers have won in recent weeks, and with Max Verstappen’s Red Bull Honda likely to be in the mix, I expect we are in for another unpredictable and close weekend. Fantastic for Formula 1.”