Dominant Monaco Front Row Lockout Delights Mercedes Boss Toto Wolff

by Paul Hensby

Toto Wolff was delighted to see his Mercedes-AMG Motorsport team lock out the front row of the grid for the Monaco Grand Prix, particularly after struggling earlier in the weekend to get the tyres up to temperature quick enough for a Qualifying run.

Lewis Hamilton took his eighty-fifth career pole position, and his fifty-ninth with Mercedes, on Saturday with a best lap of 1:10.166, the fastest lap ever seen around the Circuit de Monaco, while team-mate Valtteri Bottas was only 0.086 seconds adrift in second.

Wolff, the Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, admitted it took time to find out the right formula to get quick lap times in but once found, it was another dominant session for the team that are looking for a sixth consecutive one-two finish on Sunday.

“I’m really happy,” said Wolff.  “We struggled a bit to understand how to best prep the tyre to warm them up and get them into the temperature window. We had to decide between two laps or one lap to prepare them, but in the end we found the right formula.

“Valtteri had a sensational first lap in Q3, but he hit some traffic on the out lap for his second run, so his tyres were a bit too cold and he didn’t have enough grip. Lewis put in a fantastic second lap and managed to get pole.”

Despite locking out the front row, Wolff admitted it was a shame that Charles Leclerc was unable to fight for pole position in his home race after a miscalculation from Scuderia Ferrari during Q1 that his time was good enough to advance into Q2, which ultimately backfired on them.

Wolff felt the final practice session pacesetter could have fought for a front row grid slot but for that, with Leclerc now set to start down in fifteenth.

“It’s a shame for Charles; I think he had it in him for to fight for front row in his home race,” said Wolff.

Wolff says it should be exciting on race day, particularly if rain does appear, which could spice up the day around the tight confines of Monte Carlo.

“The weather forecast keeps changing, but the latest I heard was that there’s a 60 percent chance for rain in the race, so it should be exciting tomorrow,” concluded Wolff.

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