Formula 1

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff: “We can be happy and proud with the pace today”

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Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport - Sochi Autodrom
Credit: Wolfgang Wilhelm

Toto Wolff says the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team can be proud of what they achieved during Qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix, but the important part of the weekend is still to come on Sunday.

The Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport saw Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton lock out the front row of the grid at the Sochi Autodrom, with the duo well clear of Scuderia Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen, with Wolff pleased to see the team be so competitive at a track where, despite winning the race in 2017, they were not truly at the races.

Bottas set a new lap record in taking his second pole position of the season while Hamilton was 0.145 seconds further back, with both Ferrari drivers more than half a second down on the pole time.

“We can be happy and proud with the pace today, it’s the achievement of a lot of hard work over the past weeks,” said Wolff.  “We have a car that looks really competitive around Sochi, which is especially good after the struggles we had last year.”

Wolff knows there is still the race to come on Sunday and they are aiming to take the top two positions, something they have only managed twice throughout 2018 so far in the Spanish and German Grand Prix, both races that Hamilton won.

“But today is only Saturday, so while being on pole and locking out the front row is a massive satisfaction for us, we know that the slip stream around this track will play a big role tomorrow and could be decisive for the race,” said Wolff.

“So we will try to have a good start to stay in front and then control the race from there. We should have the pace in the car, it’s all about getting off the line well and keeping the position.”

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