Formula 1

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff: “It’s very painful to lose a race like that”

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Lewis Hamilton was forced to settle for second in Bahrain - Credit: Steve Etherington

Toto Wolff admitted it was painful to see the race victory in Bahrain slip through the fingers of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, as Sebastian Vettel and Scuderia Ferrari again denied the Silver Arrows the win.

The Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport admitted it was a tough weekend at the Bahrain International Circuit for the team, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas forced to settle for second and third behind Vettel’s Ferrari, especially disappointing as they shared the front row of the grid.

“You need to be able to draw a line under a tough weekend,” said Wolff. “It’s very painful to lose a race like that. There were too many marginal losses that we encountered and these cost us the victory.

“But they are down to us to fix. You need to be careful not to spend too much time thinking about these setbacks, but rather work on solutions for the future. That’s important.

“Of course, you need to keep both feet on the ground. Second and third place is definitely not a disaster. But if you have a car and two drivers capable of winning races and it hasn’t materialised, then it feels painful – and this is how it should feel.”

Wolff knows the team have what it takes to pick themselves up and return to winning ways, working on their weaknesses and coming back stronger again, having done so many times previously over the last few years.

“We know what weaknesses we need to tackle and where we need to be even more diligent for the coming races in order to win,” insisted Wolff. “You have to confront each issue, analyse it properly and come up with a plan for how to avoid repeating those mistakes in the future.

“This is an exercise which we have done a number of times over the last few years.”

Wolff is hopeful that this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom will see the Silver Arrows return to winning ways having been unbeaten at the circuit since the track made its debut on the calendar in 2014, although he is taking nothing for granted that that run will continue.

“It’s a totally different kind of track this weekend in Sochi and, in this season with these new regulations, you can’t take anything for granted,” said Wolff.

“The trophies of previous years don’t guarantee that we’ll be winning in Russia when you have a very fierce competitor like we do in Ferrari. We’ll take it one step at a time, start the weekend well and hopefully have a good result on Sunday.

“It’s very good to see people talking positively about Formula 1. Clearly, the close fight between Ferrari and Mercedes is something that is interesting for the fans. It’s interesting for us too. This is why we go racing – because we’re racers and we thrive on the competition and the battle.”

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