Toto Wolff says the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team have had time to dissect the weekend they at the Circuit de Monaco last time out, and they are looking to bounce back this weekend in Azerbaijan.
Valtteri Bottas was forced out from a podium spot during the Monaco Grand Prix after a wheel was stuck to his car during a pit stop, while Lewis Hamilton finished only seventh after a lacklustre performance. The results meant that Mercedes lost the lead to Red Bull Racing in the Constructors’ Championship, while Hamilton now sits second to Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ standings.
Wolff says everyone within the team has asked themselves the hard questions to why Mercedes were not as strong in Monaco as they have been in other races, but they will come to Azerbaijan with a lot to prove.
“Weekends like Monaco are the ones that keep you coming back for more,” said Wolff. “Nothing comes easy in this sport, and that’s why we love it. We know that if you are not at, or close to, 100% then it will bite you.
“On Monday morning I saw the same energy as when we returned from the Bahrain test and that pleases me. We dissected the weekend, asked hard questions of ourselves, and learned some crucial lessons. I wish we could have been back racing last weekend.”
Wolff says the team will be eyeing a much more competitive weekend at the Baku City Circuit than they had in Monaco, although he does fear the track may not suit them as much as some of their rivals.
The Team Principal of Mercedes is expecting Red Bull to once again be a major threat in Azerbaijan, although he cannot rule out the possibility of Scuderia Ferrari or the McLaren F1 Team interjecting themselves into the battle at the front of the field.
“Baku is next up,” he said. “While it’s a very different street circuit to Monaco, we expect it to be another tricky one for us, not particularly suiting the characteristics and traits of the W12.
“Red Bull will be strong again, while both Ferrari and McLaren have made great progress recently. A key focus for us has to be exploiting the opportunities available to us on those outlier tracks which aren’t suited to our car – when the points are there, we need to grab them.”
Wolff is expecting the championship battles to swing ‘back and forth’ between them and Red Bull, and for him, that makes it a much more exciting proposition for the fans and for everyone in the team.
“There will be swings back and forth in this fight which is exciting for the sport and exciting for us,” said Wolff. “We’re expecting another challenge on the city streets and after the results of the last race, we’re more determined and fired-up than ever to bounce back in Baku.”