Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team Executive Director Toto Wolff admitted that the team “got lucky again” at the Malaysian Grand Prix, following the team’s surprise strong finish at the final race in Sepang.
The Mercedes team were down on performance to both the Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari cars throughout the weekend, though were able to take pole position on Saturday, and second and fifth places in the race.
Far from being on merit though, this was largely down to failings from Ferrari. The team were unable to get Sebastian Vettel out for qualifying, leaving him to start from the back of the grid, whilst Kimi Raikkonen was unable to even start the race. This once again gifted Mercedes a strong finish and points over their title challengers, though Wolff is keen to explore why the team lacked pace rather than enjoy the good fortune.
“It was clear after just a few laps that both Red Bull and Ferrari had better cars than us today – but we nevertheless managed to score a good number of points and extend our lead in both championships.
“After a weekend where we have lacked a significant chunk of performance, we couldn’t have imagined such a good outcome, but we can’t let that distract us from the job we have in front of us.
“We leave Malaysia with a lot of question marks and we need to find answers to them in the next days and weeks, to ensure that we keep moving forward and racing at the front in the final quarter of this championship.
“We cannot get distracted by the fact we got lucky again this weekend.”
Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas finished second and fifth respectively in the race, with Bottas almost three quarters of a minute slower than his teammate. Whilst this is not a good result for the Finn, Wolff is keen to reassure fans that this isn’t representative of his true pace – suggesting that his car was less competitive than Hamilton’s.
“Lewis did a fantastic job today to score P2 while Valtteri, just like over the rest of the weekend, struggled to match that pace and brought the car home in P5.
“We know that gap doesn’t reflect his true level of performance, and it will be a priority for us to put two equally competitive cars on track next weekend in Suzuka. In simple words, there is a lot more work ahead of us if we want to come out on top by Abu Dhabi.”