Toto Wolff revelled in a great result for his Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team in the Spanish Grand Prix, but the team boss admitted it was not as comfortable as it appeared to be from the outside as Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas finished one-two on Sunday.
Hamilton had the easier afternoon at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, maintaining the lead from pole position and managing his tyres superbly, but for Bottas it a much more difficult day, with the Finn losing second place to Sebastian Vettel at the start and then making his set of medium tyres last an incredible forty-seven laps to reclaim the position.
Wolff revealed Bottas was suffering vibrations late in the day as the tyres wore down, and it was a worry that he would not make it to the flag without needing to pit again, so it was a relief when he saw the chequered flag in second place.
“That was a great result but there was no point this afternoon where it felt as comfortable as it might have looked from outside,” said Wolff. “Lewis did a fantastic job this afternoon: a great start, impressive pace in the opening stint and perfect management of the medium tyre.
“For Valtteri, we tried to overcut in the first stint and just missed out on passing Vettel. Then when Sebastian took the chance to pit again under the VSC, we decided to do the opposite and take the medium tyre to the finish.
“That involved running the tyre a long way, a little bit into the unknown with over 45 laps to do on it, and we had our hearts in our mouths in the final laps as there were some vibrations on the front axle as well.
“Valtteri did the perfect job to manage the load on the left front and the falling tyre temperatures on old tyres, and sealed a really special one-two finish.”
Wolff felt a one-two finish for the team was a long time coming, with the last one coming in the United States Grand Prix last October, although the teams focus is already turning to the Monaco Grand Prix at the end of the month, a venue twelve months ago they struggled for pace.
“It feels like a long time since we had a 1-2 finish, so there’s definitely a measure of relief in how we asserted ourselves today,” admitted the Austrian. “But we know as well that this was a good circuit for us and the temperatures fell in our favour as well.
“So we need to stay calm and humble, because it can be a different ball game again next time round. We will savour the result this evening – but our thoughts are already turning to Monaco, to the struggles we had there last year and to how we can make sure not to suffer a repeat.”