Formula 1

Toto Wolff thrilled with controlled team performance in China but remains wary of Ferrari

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Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas - Chinese GP 2019
Credit: Mercedes AMG F1 Media Archive

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Team Principal Toto Wolff hailed a controlled weekend in China as Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas landed the team their third perfect finish in a row.

Although Formula 1 celebrated its 1,000th championship race in China, it was a familiar sight as the silver arrows raced to victory.

Reigning World Champion Hamilton got the better of his Finnish teammate Bottas as the pair raced into the first corner at the Shanghai International Circuit.

And from then on, it was business as usual for the Mercedes outlet as they sailed to a comfortable victory and landed their third one-two finish in as many races.

The result unsurprisingly left Team Principal Wolff thrilled with his crew and drivers and he said: “To win the 1,000th race in such a controlled way is amazing.

“It’s a very special win and you can tell that everyone in the team is very happy with the outcome.

“Lewis had the clutch paddle under control today and had a strong start and controlled the race from then on. Valtteri for sure won’t be happy as he had pole and the speed to win today, but the start was the deciding factor.”

Despite their impressive form in the opening races of the season, it was the Mercedes double pit stop which left fans, and pundits, in awe of the crew.

A ‘double stack’ can sometimes be costly for one of the drivers if the timing isn’t right but Mercedes times theirs to perfection and pulled off an impeccable feat in the pit lane.

Wolff was left equally impressed and hailed the team’s efforts to pull off the rare manoeuvre, he added:Stacking the cars for a double pit stop was a risky moment because you have everything to lose when you’re leading the race.

“But we thought we would lose positions if we had stopped one of the earlier. Our plan worked out perfectly; it was a well-choreographed pit stop and the team did a brilliant job.”

Although China saw Mercedes dominate Scuderia Ferrari, Wolff is wary that the Italian team could come back fighting in Azerbaijan at the Baku City Circuit.

He added: “Based on our long run simulations we didn’t think it would be so straightforward and our advantage to Ferrari came as a bit of a surprise.

“They still look very quick on the straights; I’m not sure it’s just the power, our car is maybe a bit draggier than theirs, but we have to keep working on our straight-line performance.

“Baku is a different ball-game, there’s a very long straight and we need to get the power and drag level there right. I think we’ll be up for the fight and I’m looking forward to it.”

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