Formula 1

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff: “No prizes awarded for the half-time champions”

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Toto Wolff knows there is still hard work to be done to win championships in 2017 - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Toto Wolff says that whilst holding the lead at the halfway point is good, no prizes are given at this stage of the season, and it is important that the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team continue to perform on track.

Heading into the Hungarian Grand Prix, Mercedes sit fifty-five points clear of Scuderia Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship having taken three of the last four race victories, while Lewis Hamilton is one point behind Sebastian Vettel in the Drivers’ Championship, with Valtteri Bottas a further twenty-two points back in third.

Wolff, the Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, says the team are not thinking about points deficits or advantages at this stage of the season, especially with half of the season still remaining.

“We have reached the halfway point of the 2017 season and both championships are very much in the balance right now,” said Wolff. “The points tables show that we have a small buffer in the constructors’ race and a small deficit on the drivers’ side. But that’s not important at this stage – there are no prizes awarded for the half-time champions.

“Our approach is to take it weekend by weekend, to build our performance at each circuit in a calm and logical way and to keep pushing. The time for worrying about the points will come later.

“What I see when I walk the corridors of our factories is an energy and determination like never before. It is inspiring to see how our team is tackling this championship battle.”

Wolff says it was important for Mercedes to overcome the bumpy start to the season and to bring the fight to Ferrari, who took three of the first six race victories, with the bad weekend in Monaco in particular a time for the team to reboot to turn their form around.

“The first half of the season was a mixed one for us,” said Wolff. “From the first test, it was clear we had a real fight on our hands with Ferrari – and soon we could see this might become one of the classic seasons.

“It was a bumpy start for us as we didn’t quite find the right set-up window to make our car function. Then we had a bad weekend in Monaco – like always, you learn much more from your defeats than your victories.

“We used that learning in the right way and, from that point, we started to turn things around.”

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