Mercedes’ Toto Wolff: “A 1-2 lockout in qualifying is never easy”

Lewis Hamilton - Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team

Toto Wolff was delighted to his Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team lock out the front row of the grid for the fourteenth time in twenty-one races in 2016 as Lewis Hamilton led Nico Rosberg at the Yas Marina Circuit.

The Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport admitted that despite what it looked like on the outside, qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was not straightforward, although he admitted Hamilton was on fire all session long.

“No matter what it looks like from the outside, a 1-2 lockout in qualifying is never easy to achieve,” said Wolff. “So it’s a great result for the team to see this car take the front row in its final ever race weekend before it heads to the museum.

“It was also a great driving demonstration from our boys this evening. Lewis was on his own level all the way through, setting the benchmark in Q1 and never headed after that. As for Nico, he did exactly what he needed to do tonight, and could perhaps have been a little bit closer without a couple of errors on his lap.”

The race on Sunday could be a different proposition for Mercedes, especially as Red Bull Racing duo Daniel Ricciardo, from third on the grid, and Max Verstappen start on the Supersoft tyre rather than the Ultrasoft that both Hamilton and Rosberg will use, but Wolff feels it could be a fantastic ending to the season as his drivers fight for the title.

“It sets up the perfect scenario for tomorrow’s race – and we have Red Bull running the alternative tyre strategy, too, which could add a little bit of spice to the race,” said Wolff. “They will be looking to put us under pressure with that move and we’ll see how things play out.

“As for us, we will be going racing just the same way as we have done all year. The boys are free to race, like they always have been, and we will stay true to our values and principles that have served us so well in the past three seasons. It’s going to be a thrilling showdown to a fantastic season.”