Toto Wolff, the Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, was full of praise for both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton after the duo claimed first and third respectively during Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix in quite different circumstances.
Rosberg led from start to finish, with Wolff admitting that the German had the race under control throughout, while Hamilton started at the back of the field following a trio of engine changes, and drove a strong race through the field to complete the podium, although he was unable to make it a 1-2 finish.
“A fantastic result this afternoon for the whole team after what proved a pretty tough weekend for us,” said Wolff. “Nico had it all under control today from the moment the lights went out.
“It was a perfect drive, with great pace on each of the tyres he used and he just steadily built the gap to [Daniel] Ricciardo behind him when he needed to. He didn’t put a foot wrong and delivered everything possible.
“On the other side, I’m delighted for Lewis climbing back up to P3 after starting from the back. Sure, we benefited from the chaos at Turn 1 and the decision of some people to pit under the Safety Car before the red flag came out.
“But we had decided to run an aggressive three-stop strategy with him so that he could attack the other cars and move forward today and we stuck to our guns after the red flag.”
Wolff felt there was a small glimmer of hope that Hamilton could close the gap to Ricciardo but blistering on the Medium Pirelli tyre put paid to those chances.
“Doing something different to Ricciardo was the only possible way to beat him – and that was a long shot anyway,” admitted Wolff.
“But Lewis drove a squeaky clean race and really deserved the podium finish – at one point in the final stint, we thought maybe we could chase Ricciardo down. But then even the medium tyre started to blister from Lewis and we played it safe from there.”