Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team Boss Toto Wolff is ready for another epic battle with main title rivals Scuderia Ferrari, on the Italian squad’s home turf this weekend.
It has been close quarters action between championship protagonists Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel so far this season, none more so than at the last round in Belgium, which prior to the event had been considered a shoe-in for Mercedes to win.
They were victorious but it was by no means an easy win for the Brit, and so with that in mind, Wolff is taking nothing for granted in Italy.
“We said before Spa that it’s dangerous to make assumptions this year and the race weekend demonstrated why that’s the case.
“It was a dogfight with Ferrari and, although we came out on top, we did so by a small margin only.
“We can expect the same kind of close battle at every race this year. There will be no races where it is a walk in the park, and we are ready for an epic battle all the way to the finish line in Abu Dhabi.”
This weekend’s Italian Grand Prix is set to be the closest race yet, as the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, although similar to the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in terms of its need for high speed and power, includes sections that individually suit both teams’ packages.
Where as in the past Mercedes may have felt fairly confident that this grand prix was in the bag, barring their own misfortune, Wolff is cautious of what Ferrari could do at their home track, especially with the fanatical support of the Tifosi in their corner.
“Monza is a circuit that has been good to us in recent years. It rewards low drag and peak power, both of which are among the strengths of our package. But, braking stability and low-speed grip are also crucial through the chicanes, and these are areas where Ferrari has held an advantage.
“The team that finds the best overall compromise will come out on top.”
The Austrian is aware it will be a tough second half of the season, as Ferrari push them to the maximum at every race, a challenge Mercedes have not been accustomed to during the last three seasons, but something they will have to quickly adjust to in order to stay in the title hunt.
For the remainder of the year Mercedes’s goal is simple; take maximum points at every race. Wolff strongly believes they have the squad to achieve that, and to do it in Italy this Sunday would of course be the perfect place to get the ball rolling.
“In the coming weeks, we must grasp every opportunity, accept good fortune with humility, misfortune with resolution and show our resilience on the days when our rivals are stronger.
“The pendulum will swing again a number of times before Abu Dhabi, the season so far has shown us this much. Our focus is simply on extracting every possible point from each race in succession, beginning this weekend in Monza.”