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Toto Wolff thinks Ferrari took 'a step back' at Monza

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MONZA, Italy -- Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was surprised to see how much title rivals Ferrari struggled to match his team's pace at the Italian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton eased to victory at Ferrari's home race ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas, who looked destined to finish a comfortable second after dispatching Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll in the opening laps. Though Sebastian Vettel finished third, he was 36 seconds behind Hamilton and just four seconds ahead of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who had started down in 13h on the grid.

Though Mercedes was expected to hold a power advantage, Ferrari's strong pace at the Belgian Grand Prix had raised hopes of a repeat performance in front of the tifosi.

When asked about Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene's apparent frustration at the team's pace during an Italian TV interview immediately after the race, Wolff said: "Emotions run high when you have a bad day, you can't hide it.

"For me, it looks like this weekend Ferrari has a step back, somehow. I think we were very solid but they haven't performed in the way everyone expected. Red Bull starting from the back of the grid, almost finishing P3 -- there's just something that is out of sync here, something is not how it should be so I can understand they're upset about it."

Though performance at Monza is often dictated by straight-line speed and engine power, Wolff thinks Mercedes can be cautiously optimistic about how its car behaved at all points of the circuit.

"Everybody talks about Monza, Monza wings. You can see that on some of our competitors, Red Bull has experimented with a very low downforce wing in Spa and I think what they had here was a knife.

"So yes we had a Monza package, but it wasn't down to the low downforce configuration. It was very strong through the corners and that is encouraging."