<
>

Mercedes will 'leave no stone unturned' to defeat Ferrari after Australian GP setback

play
Are Mercedes ready for Ferrari challenge? (1:03)

With Lewis Hamilton seemingly asking for a challenge on Friday, Sebastian Vettel stepped up to provide it at the Australian Grand Prix. But are Mercedes ready? (1:03)

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the team will "leave no stone unturned" to remedy its Australian Grand Prix defeat by Ferrari, something he admits was "personality-building" after three years of dominance.

Sebastian Vettel's victory for Ferrari was the first time in the V6 turbo era, which started in 2014, that Mercedes has failed to win the opening race of the season. It is also the first time a non-Mercedes driver has led the championship in that spell.

Wolff, who put Ferrari's win down to pure pace and not Mercedes' strategy, said the team is relishing the opportunity to fight in 2017.

"It's personality-building," Wolff said about the result. "I think you just lose some and you win some. We have been very fortunate in the last three years that we won most of the races. And now it's about accepting that here Ferrari beat us.

"We will come back stronger. We didn't have great testing and we didn't have a great Sunday [in Australia], but we will leave no stone unturned in order to win more."

After the race, Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff had to defend the Mercedes call to pit on lap 17 while holding track position over Sebastian Vettel. The pit stop meant Hamilton emerged in traffic at the critical moment of the race for the lead, allowing Vettel to emerge from his own stop marginally ahead of the yet-to-pit Max Verstappen, who had slowed Hamilton's charge on his new soft tyres.

Wolff denied the call was a sign of rustiness on the pit wall after years of dominance and said the team was always braced for a day when it would no longer be far ahead of its rivals.

"Even if we won all those races and it looked like it was easy, it was clear that it wasn't. We were always skeptical whether it was good enough, and we always tried to see the negatives in everything we did, and look at the worst-case scenario. That is why we always considered Red Bull or Ferrari to be real competitors. And they were. So therefore the perception or the perspective is still absolutely the same."

"Losing is always personality building, and I'd much rather win than lose. But it is part of F1. We have had an exceptional run the last three years. I have always said this is outlier, you can't expect this to continue forever.

"It was clear that the moment was going to come where we need to lose with humility, and accept that somebody else has done a better job. And this is just what happened. They have done a great job. Their car is fast. Sebastian is a well-deserved race winner."