Mercedes’ Toto Wolff: “We knew that it would be difficult for us here”

Credit: Wolfgang Wilhelm

Toto Wolff says he is satisfied to see his Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team lock out the second row of the grid for the Mexican Grand Prix, especially as the team went into the weekend expecting to struggle with a high downforce set-up.

Lewis Hamilton was the quicker of the two drivers in third, while Valtteri Bottas ended up just 0.024 seconds back in fourth, although neither driver were able to get within four-tenths of pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel.

Wolff, the Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, says that despite being off the front row, the team have taken a step forward in performance with maximum downforce, and the attention now turns to the race, where both drivers should have the opportunity to improve after promising long runs in practice.

“First of all, congratulations to Sebastian on a very impressive pole position,” said Wolff. “We have locked out the second row this afternoon and, to be honest, I’m reasonably satisfied with that.

“We knew that it would be difficult for us here, running at a high downforce circuit, so the result is okay with that in mind; it feels like we have taken a step forward in these conditions compared to recent races.

“There were big gaps between team-mates today so it is nice to see our drivers so close together, especially as Valtteri only had one opportunity to set a time in Q3. That shows he is bouncing back in the right way from a difficult run of races.

“Now we have to look forward to a long race tomorrow. Lewis had a promising long run during second practice, so there are still plenty of opportunities open for us to take.”