Thursday, May 23, 2024

‘More Important’ Mercedes Car Has ‘Potential’ than Podium Finish at Silverstone – Toto Wollf

Toto Wolff was happy to see the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team score valuable points during Sundays British Grand Prix to pull themselves away from the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team in the Constructors’ Championship.

Lewis Hamilton took third place at Silverstone and George Russell fifth, the team scoring twenty-five points compared to the six points scored by Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso. The gap between the two teams is now twenty-two points heading to the Hungarian Grand Prix later in the month.

Wolff, the Team Principal at Mercedes, says it was a solid result at Silverstone but nothing more, although there were positives to take from the weekend, particularly the recovery from where the team were performance-wise on Saturday and Sunday compared to Friday.

“We’ve performed well today compared to in Qualifying,” said Wolff.  “We’ve gained some points on our closest competitors in the Constructors’ Championship, so we can say it’s a solid day.

“P3 and P5 is OK, but no more than solid. I see the positives from this weekend though. Whilst podiums are good, it’s more important to see that the car has potential, and our eyes are on closing the gap to the very front.”

Mercedes opted to split the strategies between the two drivers, with Hamilton starting on the medium compound and Russell on the soft, although the latter was compromised by the timing of safety car after pitting just prior to its interruption.

Wolff was surprised to see the soft tyre last as long as it did around Silverstone, so to put Hamilton on that tyre was the best option for the second half of the race, even if he was unable to make a pass on Lando Norris for second place. 

“We wanted to have an offset between the two cars today and the Soft tyre provided a good getaway from the line,” Wolff said.  “It also looked quite resilient on Friday, and it proved even more so today. We were surprised to see how long it went.

“After the restart, Lewis’ tyres went off and the McLarens were able to hold us behind.”

And Wolff is pleased to see a resurgence by the McLaren F1 Team after they finished second and fourth at Silverstone, having seen Norris and Oscar Piastri qualify inside the top three on Saturday.

“Their resurgence is good to see. If you make the right decisions, you can clearly make a large step,” he said.  “It is good for the sport that if you do the right things then you can move forward.

“Today, they had a better car, and you could see particularly in the closing stages on the Hard tyre just how strong they were.”