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Mercedes upgrade in Ferrari battle

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Mercedes will introduce "minor upgrades" onto their W10 car at this weekend's Japanese GP, as they bid to counter Ferrari's strong form and take steps closer to F1's world titles.

On the weekend in which they could secure a sixth successive Constructors' Championship by delivering a strong result, Mercedes have confirmed some development parts will be added to their car for Suzuka - one of the sport's most flowing and downforce-critical circuits.

Mercedes ultimately ended Ferrari's three-race winning run with a one-two in Russia, with team boss Toto Wolff saying they "made the most of our opportunities and both Lewis (Hamilton) and Valtteri (Bottas) drove flawlessly".

But the world championship leaders are under no illusions about the ongoing challenge heading into the season's closing two months.

"The win in Sochi doesn't change the fact that Ferrari had a stronger start to the second part of the season than we did," said Wolff.

"We'll bring some minor upgrades to the car in Japan which will hopefully help us take a step in the right direction; however, we know that we need to extract absolutely everything from our car and the tyres if we want to be able to challenge for a win."

Like Sochi, Suzuka has proved a stronghold for Mercedes in the hybrid-engine era.

The team have won all five races in that time - with Lewis Hamilton triumphing on four occasions - and their cars have proved the two fastest in each qualifying session since 2014. However, Mercedes last secured a pole position in 2019 back in July.

"We have a strong track record there, having won every Japanese Grand Prix in the hybrid era, but we expect this year to be challenging given the strength of our opponents," added Wolff.

"It will be a very close battle on track - and one that we very much look forward to. Our targets for the final quarter of the season are clear and it's up to us to make sure we achieve them."

Related: Top 10 Drivers Ranking for the 2019 Russian GP [Read Sport]


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