Mercedes’ Wolff eager to learn lesson from troubled start

World © Octane Photographic Ltd. Mercedes AMG Petronas Executive Director – Toto Wolff. Saturday 3rd September 2016, F1 Italian GP Paddock, Monza, Italy. Digital Ref :1696LB1D7073

Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, Toto Wolff,  was happy with the overall team result at last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, as the Brackley based squad achieved the best possible outcome with a one-two finish.

“First of all, a pretty perfect afternoon for the team in terms of the end result, with a 1-2 finish in front of an amazing Monza crowd this afternoon.

“The decisive moment was clearly the start: as Lewis dropped back to P6, Nico was able to take the lead and that set the pattern for their races.”

The Austrian praised driver Nico Rosberg for a flawless race, and also commended Lewis Hamilton’s efforts for making up the places after a troubled start saw him fall down the order to sixth place.

“Nico did everything he needed to in just the right way: he managed the pace, kept the tyres in great shape and delivered a perfect one-stop race.

“As for Lewis, it was a balancing act for him as soon as he went into recovery mode: he needed to make the stint lengths in order to stay on the one-stop strategy but also fight his way back through. He judged it to perfection and limited the damage in terms of the point’s situation.”

Hamilton initially thought the bogging down off the line had been human error, but following a debrief meeting after the race it transcribed that it may not have been so clean cut. Wolff confirmed that no blame would be accredited to anyone, and the team would be looking into exactly what went wrong, so that they would not to be caught out in the same way again, which on another day could easily have lost them valuable points in the championship battle.

“As for the start, we obviously changed the rules this year in order to make the process more manual and more variable, and we are seeing that play out. When you start from the front row, poor starts are more visible and good ones not so obvious, so we need to be careful jumping to conclusions.

“Lewis said on the radio that it was his fault but he also followed all his procedures in a good way – it’s simply not an easy thing to get right and there are a lot of different factors at play. But there is no blame game: we will come together, analyse everything, learn our lessons and keep on improving so we don’t find ourselves losing places off the line.”

With the Driver’s Championship now poised on a knife’s edge between Hamilton and Rosberg, the Brit holding onto the top spot by just two points following Sunday’s race, the Austrian is aware that there may be some tense moments to come, as his two driver’s battle it out for the honours.

A tough situation to be in, but at the same time a good one!

“But looking at the big picture, we have a perfectly balanced championship battle, with two points between Nico and Lewis after 14 races. The pendulum will keep swinging back and forth to the end of the season, I am sure; it will give us some more grey hairs but I think it will be a great fight for the fans to watch.”