Cape Town - Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said there is a
"gremlin" that needs removing after both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri
Bottas struggled for early pace in Sepang.
A much drier FP2 session meant that slicks were able to be
used for the first time this race weekend, but Mercedes were left languishing
behind Ferrari, Red Bull and even Fernando Alonso's McLaren-Honda as Hamilton
and Bottas were off the pace by over a second in P6 and P7 respectively.
Both drivers found the gravel trap in the early stages as
they wrestled with their cars and the struggles continued into the qualifying
simulation runs as the W08 looked really unsettled through the corners.
"Not blessed," was Wolff's unique take on the
session when quizzed by Sky F1.
"It was a very difficult session for us and we
struggled from the get-go this morning. In the wet, in the dry, on all tyres.
"The car is unbalanced and sliding all over the place.
The tyres are overheating and there is a gremlin in the car."
Wolff was then asked whether there was a bit of a hangover
from their opportunistic win in Singapore, but he quickly dismissed that
"They are completely different tracks," he added.
"You can compare Malaysia to Silverstone probably,
where we were very good, but there is a fundamental issue with the car that we
need to find out."