Formula 1

Mercedes Looking for Fightback at Silverstone after ‘Cruel’ Outing in Austria – Wolff

2 Mins read
Toto Wolff - Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Toto Wolff says motor sport can often turn cruel on teams and drivers, and the outcome of the Austrian Grand Prix last was just one of those occasions for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport.

For the first time since Mercedes returned to the sport as a works team back in 2010, both their drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, retired from the race due to mechanical gremlins, while their only double retirement in the hybrid era came in the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix where Hamilton and Nico Rosberg collided on the opening lap as they battled for the lead.

Wolff felt the result of the Austrian Grand Prix taught the team about humility, and things can go awry even if the car is the fastest on track, which the W09 was as it showed by allowing Bottas and Hamilton to lock out the front row of the grid in Qualifying.

“Motor racing can be very cruel – and it was incredibly so for us in Austria,” said Wolff.  “Before the race in Spielberg, a few people in the paddock told me that it was going to be an easy 1-2 for us because we had the quickest car. But while qualifying was a good result, it’s not until Sunday that points are awarded.

“However, it is the tough times that help us grow as individuals and as a team – not the good ones. Motor racing taught us a lesson about humility on Sunday – even when you have the fastest car, even when you lead the first 12 laps with both cars, things run away from you very fast if you make mistakes.

“That’s the competition we are in, the fights we embrace and what makes this sport such a brilliant challenge.”

Wolff felt that the way the team tried to take responsibility for the mistakes and actions during the Austrian race weekend was the way to go, and it is now key to learn from them to come back stronger in the forthcoming Grand Prix, starting this weekend at Silverstone.

“We tried to show the right character in defeat,” said Wolff.  “We took full responsibility for our mistakes, which takes guts, and we will now analyse them and come back stronger from that learning.

“Both drivers were calm and showed true leadership. We have had the fastest and most reliable car in recent years – and they reminded us of that fact.

“We come to Silverstone on the back of the worst weekend we’ve had in a very long time.  We are determined to put up a hard fight on home turf and come back with a strong result – one that is worthy of our drivers’ performance, our fans’ passion and the Mercedes brand.”

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