Mercedes’ Toto Wolff: “A pretty awesome session from Lewis”

Toto Wolff - Credit: Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team

Toto Wolff heaped huge praise on Lewis Hamilton after the British driver dominated qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix, with the Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport delighted to see another front row lock-out for his team.

Hamilton’s fifty-seventh career pole position came at the expense of Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team-mate Nico Rosberg, with 0.414 seconds the final gap, and Wolff felt that both drivers could have been quicker but for mistakes on their final attempts.

“That was a pretty awesome session from Lewis, setting fastest time in all three parts of qualifying and taking pole by a big margin – and without completing his final effort,” said Wolff. “He’s been on point from the first laps this weekend and, without any reliability problems, he’s got the job done.

“Nico also did a great recovery in Q3 after an oversteery first run left him P5. He got a strong P2 on his final lap and he probably left a couple of tenths out there on the track as well.”

Wolff insists strategy will play a major part during Sunday’s race, and expects challenges to come from outside the Mercedes team, with both Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari having looked strong in their long runs during practice.

“Looking ahead to tomorrow, we need to keep the ball flat and focus on the job,” insisted Wolff. “It will be a challenging race with our main rivals very close on long run pace.

“Strategy will be important and so will avoiding mistakes in the challenging conditions. We’ve hit our first target for the weekend but the big one is still to come.”