Mercedes AMG Motorsport Team Principal Toto Wolff believes the Brackley-based squad can “handle defeat” at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix after the woeful outing last time around in the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.
Sunday’s race, which also marked the two-hundreth in the team’s Formula 1 history as a constructor, was one of their worst. The problems started when Lewis Hamilton went off track at the penultimate corner whilst under Safety Car conditions and took damage to his front wing. Much to the surprise of everyone, the mechanics were unprepared for an unscheduled nose replacement and a fifty-second pit stop effectively cost the championship leader the race win.
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas did not fare much better. He had spun off at Turn One whilst chasing Lance Stroll for a podium place but unlike Hamilton who had also spun at the same corner a few laps beforehand and continued, the Finn collided with the barrier and was out of the race on the spot.
The only consolation for the German brand was Hamilton’s two championship points for finishing in ninth after post-race penalties were given to both of the Alfa Romeo Racing drivers who had finished ahead of him on track.
Wolff is adamant that everyone within Mercedes can learn from the mistakes and can bounce back straight away this weekend in Budapest.
“We had a painful Sunday in Hockenheim. We made mistakes, took the wrong decisions and left Germany with only two points,” the Team Principal added.
“But we love Formula One for the challenges it throws at us as they present an opportunity to improve. On Sunday, we were united in our pain; on Monday, we were united in our determination to turn our weaknesses into strengths. We had a number of very open discussions about what went wrong and what steps we need to take to improve.
“I believe that one of the core strengths of our team is the way we handle defeat. We accept responsibility for mistakes so that we can learn and improve – and we will come back stronger from this. The positive is that the next race is only a few days away and that we have the chance to redeem ourselves in Budapest this weekend.”
A Hungaroring circuit that has been one of the most challenging for Mercedes in the hybrid era but with the W10 taking nine wins from eleven, it is hard to rule out the Silver Arrows from clinching victory this weekend.
“In recent years, the Hungaroring has been a challenging circuit for us – but we managed to win there last year and there are a number of reasons to believe our car could be more competitive there this year than in recent seasons,” Wolff mentioned.
“Looking at our competition, Ferrari have been very strong on short circuits this year and we expect them to be competitive again in Budapest; Red Bull, too, have won two of the past three races with Max.
“But we haven’t lost sight of the fact that we have come out on top in nine of the 11 races so far this year. And we are determined to fight tooth and nail this weekend to achieve another strong result.”