Toto Wolff said Aston Martin Red Bull Racing defeated his Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team ‘fair and square’ in last weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix as the hot weather made for tricky tyre conservation for both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
Bottas took pole position at Silverstone last weekend but struggled with his tyres as he fell to third at the chequered flag, while Hamilton started and finish second as Max Verstappen climbed from fourth on the grid to win with superior strategic calls.
Wolff, the Team Principal at Mercedes, says everyone has been working hard in the days following the race at Silverstone to understand why they struggled so much with the tyres in a bid to prevent a repeat in future hot races.
“The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix was a good reminder how unpredictable and challenging our sport is and how difficult it is to win a race,” said Wolff. “You need to get absolutely everything right to beat your opponents – and we didn’t do that last weekend.
“We were quick in Qualifying, but the points are given out on Sunday and that’s when we struggled. We got beaten fair and square by Red Bull and hats off to them again for the job they did.
“Our team has always shown its greatest strengths when it was faced with tough and unexpected challenges – this week was no exception. We were clearly the outliers with regards to our tyre blistering and it was important to find out what exactly caused it and what we can do to mitigate it in the future.
“We used the last few days to build a better understanding of the problem and translate that into ways to address it in the future.”
Wolff says the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will give them a chance to see if they’ve made any gains in hotter conditions, with the race taking place in the height of summer in 2020 rather than in its traditional spring slot.
“Our next stop takes us to Barcelona, a track that we know better than any other circuit on the calendar,” added Wolff. “However, we usually go to Spain for winter testing and in spring weather for the first race of the European season.
“This year, we’re facing the heat of August with air temperatures of 30 degrees and more, in clear sunny skies. Our relative performance seems stronger in slightly cooler conditions, so the heat will definitely make it more challenging, but we’re excited to get back on track and find out if we’ve made a step in the right direction.”