Mercedes’ Toto Wolff: “The competition is right there with us”


Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

It was a race of two fortunes for the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS squad at the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend, with Lewis Hamilton taking victory in superb style, after managing his tyres brilliantly to make a one stop strategy work, and team-mate Nico Rosberg struggling to salvage fifth place after a number of incidents hampered the German’s progress.

Mercedes Team Boss Toto Wolff praised Hamilton for the way he mastered the victory.

“That was a fantastic, action-packed race like we expect in Montreal – and a sensational drive from Lewis to take the win.

“As we went into today’s race, it wasn’t clear whether one stop or two stops would be the way to go in the cold conditions and depending on how the tyres warmed up. But when Sebastian stopped behind the VSC, then it was clear that making just one stop was our best chance of winning – and then it was up to Lewis to keep the tyres alive, stretch the stints and do the pace we needed.

“He did a brilliant job of that and, when we could see from other cars on older soft tyres that they were holding on well, it was clear that the win was really on.”

Team-mate Rosberg meanwhile was on the back foot from the beginning, after both Mercedes drivers got off to a bad start compared to third placed Sebastian Vettel, who surged into the lead in the Scuderia Ferrari. As Rosberg tried to make a move round the outside of Hamilton the pair touched, sending the German offline, and dropping him back down the order.

It was a familiar situation for Wolff, after the incident in Spain, and the Austrian is starting to get used to post race discussions with his two drivers.

“Lewis reported on the radio that he had understeer and cold front tyres going into the corner – and there was some risk for Nico to be running on the outside line. It was a hard move and clearly you don’t want or expect to come out of Turn 2 with cars in 2nd and 9th positions when you start from the front row; but to be honest, these discussions after each race give me a feeling a little bit of déjà vu.”

Despite taking the victory on Sunday and beating their rivals, Wolff reiterated after the race that Mercedes cannot sit on their laurels, with Ferrari and Red Bull Racing showing in Montreal that they are right up there with them in terms of performance now.

“From the team’s perspective, a number of factors meant we didn’t take a double podium, though we did score the most points of any team today. But the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull showed that the competition is right there with us.”