Despite Lewis Hamilton ending his Italian Grand Prix in a turn two clash with title rival Max Verstappen, and Valtteri Bottas finishing only third, Toto Wolff says there were plenty of positives to take away from the Autodromo Nazionale Monza for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team.
Hamilton’s amazing run of consecutive points finishes was ended by his incident with Red Bull Racing’s Verstappen, while Bottas was forced to battle from the back of the grid after a grid penalty for an engine change denied him pole position.
Heading into the Sochi Autodrom this weekend, Wolff, the Team Principal at Mercedes, says the pace of the W12 has been competitive in recent races, and he hopes that continues into the Russian Grand Prix weekend as they battle to win both World Championships in 2021.
“After a demanding and intense triple-header, we are reenergised and ready to go,” said Wolff. “Last time out in Monza was bittersweet – a commanding performance and strong result for Valtteri but a feeling of missed points for Lewis, who had the potential to fight for the win.
“The pleasing thing is that the W12 looks competitive and with just eight races to go, now is the time to use our experience and focus on the details and processes which will get us over the line.”
Wolff says having fans back at the track is amazing to see, with the 2020 event in Russia the first event last year to welcome spectators back following the outbreak of coronavirus.
The Team Principal says Mercedes will be looking to start the weekend in Sochi on the front foot and continue the amazing run at the track, with six wins out of six for the team since the track made its debut on the calendar back in 2014. Hamilton has four of those wins, with the others going to Bottas.
“We’re looking forward to racing again in Russia, it is a circuit we’ve gone well at over the years and both our drivers have enjoyed great results in Sochi,” said Wolff. “We’re hoping to continue our run of success in Russia but know that this year is an entirely different beast, and we’re expecting another intense weekend.
“Last year, this race was one of the first to welcome fans back to the grandstands and it was incredible to feel the passion and buzz of the crowds again. We’ve just been treated to fantastic support in Spa, Zandvoort and Monza, and this weekend will be no different.
“Our aim is to pull together a strong weekend, starting in FP1 and building one session at a time. Lewis is in the tenth championship battle of his F1 career, and he is laser focused on what he needs to deliver in the next eight races.
“As for Valtteri, he’s driving better than ever, like we saw in Monza – and he will be flat out every weekend. There’s a calm determination about the team right now and the business end of a season, fighting for championships, is exactly what we enjoy the most.”