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OCTOBER 8, 2017

Mercedes has not solved pace problem says Lauda

Mercedes has not solved the problems that left it arguably the third-fastest team just a week ago in Malaysia.

That is the claim of Niki Lauda, even though Lewis Hamilton blitzed qualifying at Suzuka on Saturday.

But Lauda, the F1 legend and team chairman, said Mercedes' return to form is weather-related.

"If it's cool, it's easier for our tyres," he said.

"We need to solve that puzzle so that we can keep this performance."

Earlier, it seemed clear that after Ferrari and Red Bull were faster in Malaysia, Mercedes had simply found the solution back at its Brackley HQ prior to Japan.

Lauda said: "Our people worked day and night at the factory and a few things were found and tried here. But we have not found all of the answers."

Indeed, while Mercedes thrived in the cooler conditions of Saturday, team boss Toto Wolff is concerned about the forecast for a much warmer race day at Suzuka.

"Yes, the forecast worries me," he admitted to Bild newspaper.