Formula 1

“It’s looking very close at the front” – Toto Wolff

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2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team‘s Toto Wolff is very happy to be moving away from streets circuit this weekend, the Mercedes W12 appears to have a weakness on the street tracks despite Lewis Hamilton losing podium late in the day in Azerbaijan.

The team move on to this weekends French Grand Prix to start the first triple header of the season. The much resurfaced Circuit Paul Ricard has been a happy hunting ground for Mercedes since it’s return to the calendar, with the team leading one-hundred-five laps at the venue, compared to the zero of Red Bull Racing.

Hamilton goes into the weekend still behind Max Verstappen in the drivers standings, had he not faltered during the crucial restart in Azerbaijan he would have had a small lead in the standings. Hamilton should have more luck this weekend though after winning the last two French Grand Prix, the venue is certainly one the world champion can hope to claw back the championship lead.

Valtteri Bottas is in a difficult position going into the weekend, his seat at Mercedes continues to look at threat as the Finnish driver remains well off the pace both on track and in the standings. A good weekend in France would do wonders for not only his championship hopes but also for his Formula 1 career.

Wolff is hoping the true Mercedes pace will flourish this weekend and that the team will have better fortunes for both drivers going forward, in what is clearly a very intense championship battle.

“We come off the back of two street circuits unsuited to our car, two circuits we knew would be difficult for us, and we were disappointed to lose a podium finish and a victory through our own mistakes. That frustration reflects the high standards we hold ourselves to, and it is what drives us forward.
“In Monaco and Baku we put the W12 in a window where only one of our drivers found the confidence to unlock the performance of the car – Valtteri in Monaco and Lewis in Baku. In such a close, intense title fight, we need to deliver a car at each race which both our drivers can confidently push to its limits.
“The French Grand Prix means returning to a more traditional circuit and hopefully, better fortunes for us. It is a track we’ve gone well at in the past and, with a wide range of corner speeds that will test the car in every aspect, it’s an interesting challenge for us to tackle.
“We’re six races into the season and there’s still a long way to go. It’s looking very close at the front and we’re not expecting that to change anytime soon. We’ll be looking to turn our learnings from recent weeks into performance and to deliver a much stronger weekend with both cars.”

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Sunday – LAT Images
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