The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team head into the Austrian Grand Prix after losing their 100% winning record last time out in Canada to Red Bull Racing and Daniel Ricciardo. Both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg saw their chances of victory disappear with technical issues, and although Rosberg was able to finish second, Hamilton recorded a did not finish.
For Hamilton, a second retirement of the season cost him the chance of at least a runner-up spot, if not a win in Montreal. He looks ahead to Austria with determination to get back to winning ways on a track he’s never competed on.
“Montreal was a bit of a strange one for me,” admitted Hamilton. “I felt I had the pace right from the beginning of the weekend, but things just never quite came together. It’s frustrating when these things are out of your hands.
“The two DNF’s so far this season have not been ideal but that’s racing and there’s a long, long way to go. I caught up before and I can catch up again. It’s going to take another four wins to make the difference so I’m going to do my best to get those results.
“Right now, I’m just looking ahead to the next race in Austria and another chance to catch up to the lead. I’ve never driven the circuit but I’ve been working on it in the simulator and I’m sure I’ll learn it pretty quickly when we get out on track. It’s always exciting to go to a new venue, so it should be an interesting weekend. I’m feeling good in the car right now and I’ll be pushing flat out to come away with maximum points this time around.”
Team-mate Rosberg drove superbly on his way to second place in Canada, only losing out to Ricciardo in his Red Bull three laps from the end while nursing a poorly car. Despite missing out on the win, the German was happy to have taken eighteen points for second place, and heads into Austria twenty-two points ahead of Hamilton in the championship.
“Although it was a really, really tough day, I’m pleased with the result in Montreal,” said Rosberg. “The car was strong throughout the weekend, so to have the problems we experienced in the race was not what we expected.
“It just goes to show that you can never be too well prepared and our priority has been to make sure the car is bullet-proof for the rest of the season. When you take everything into account, finishing second in that race was quite an achievement for everyone in the team. But we know we cannot afford to slip up, as our rivals are always there to take advantage.
“I’m looking forward to the next race in Austria and a chance to get back to our winning form once again. Although I’ve driven the circuit before, that was more than ten years ago in F3: back when it was still called the A1 Ring! Of course, it will be very different in a Turbocharged, V6 Hybrid Formula One car, so it’s basically like starting from scratch for everyone on the grid. Personally, I love that kind of challenge, so I’m excited to get back in the car and go for another top result.”
Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, Toto Wolff has praised the efforts of both drivers up to now, and looks forward to the Austrian Grand Prix with the hope of his team returning to winning ways. He hopes the troubles that affected both drivers in Canada have been rectified so the heat issues experienced in Montreal do not trouble the team again.
“Canada was a weekend of mixed emotions,” said Wolff. “On the one side, we had strong pace throughout the weekend. On the other, a small glitch in what has been an extremely reliable package so far this season proved to be extremely detrimental when it really counted on Sunday. It’s something we immediately moved to analyse, understand and rectify to make sure it does not happen again.
“Nico drove a fantastic race to maintain second position, while it was just a case of extremely bad luck for Lewis who was forced to retire. Obviously, Nico now holds an increased gap at the top of the Championship, but Lewis is a fighter and I have no doubt that he will come back stronger than ever. There is still a long way to go with twelve races remaining – thirteen if you count the double points round – so his challenge is far from over.
“This race shows how quickly things can change – not just between drivers, but between teams also – so we will be pushing harder than ever to ensure that we do not give away any more valuable points to our rivals.”