Toto Wolff admits he is curious to see how the remaining three races of 2016 go for his drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, with the two locked in battle for the Drivers’ Championship.
The Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport admits to being impressed that both are working well under pressure, with both Rosberg and Hamilton having their moments at the front of the field, with the latter enjoying a superb United States Grand Prix last weekend while the former recovered to second via the help of the virtual safety car after falling behind Daniel Ricciardo at the start.
Heading into the Mexican Grand Prix at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez this weekend, Wolff is keen to see where the next chapter of the season takes them, although he hopes unreliability does not come into play for either driver.
“Lewis produced an impressive weekend all round in Austin,” said Wolff. “After Suzuka, he went away, processed everything and came back stronger, which we have seen many times from him before.
“It was damage limitation for Nico, who is in a difficult position. He needs to look at each weekend at a time, which has been very effective for him this year, but also make sure he doesn’t DNF.
“The pressure is on both in different ways. Nico was very strong in Singapore, Lewis in Malaysia, Nico again in Japan and then Lewis back on top in the USA. It keeps bouncing between the two, so I’m really curious how it’s going to go from here.
“Then, there is the challenge from our rivals, which will intensify in the final few races. We were fortunate with the Safety Car in Austin. We had the pace – but Daniel (Ricciardo) in particular was very quick, so there is always a threat.”
Wolff feels that both Ferrari and Renault have done well to close the gap at the front of the field, especially as he revealed the Mercedes chassis has not had much development, although the 2017 programme, when the rules change to increase downforce levels, is well underway.
“The longer you leave the rules alone the more teams will converge on performance,” admitted Wolff. “Nothing in particular has changed on the chassis side over the past couple of years, so Ferrari and Renault in particular on the engine side have done a good job to close up to us.
“The game for 2017 has also already started, so when you throw all these factors into the mix we are looking at an exciting end to this season and the title battle.”