Formula 1

“Spirits have been high in the factories since we returned from Istanbul” – Toto Wolff

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Credit: Jiri Krenek

Toto Wolff says the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team arrive at the Circuit of the Americas this weekend on a high after two consecutive race victories in the Russian and Turkish Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas’ dominant display in Turkey was the two-hundredth victory for a Mercedes power unit since 1997, but the fact the Finn was able to back up Lewis Hamilton’s victory in Russia has given the works team some encouragement as they fight for both World Championships in 2021.

“It was encouraging to see our positive performance momentum continue last time out in Turkey,” said Wolff, the Team Principal at Mercedes.  “We haven’t scored back-to-back race wins in a little while, so naturally spirits have been high in the factories since we returned from Istanbul.

“That race win was also the 200th victory for Brixworth since they began their winning streak in 1997, which is a remarkable achievement and a testament to the passion and hard work of everyone at HPP.”

Wolff was delighted with the way Bottas performed and commanded the Turkish race, with conditions at Intercity Istanbul Park extremely tricky due to rain and a track that refused to dry out, and the Team Principal says the result will be a big boost to the Finn.

“Istanbul was a dominant performance from Valtteri in tricky conditions, taking his first win of the season,” Wolff added.  “A faultless drive from him and he was in control of the race from the very beginning.

“It’s a brilliant boost for him and the team heading into the final part of the season and helping us to extend our lead in the Constructors’ standings.”

On the other side of the garage, Hamilton was only able to finish fifth having started outside the top ten following an engine change penalty but having lost only one point across two races to title rival Max Verstappen after both took engine changes is something Wolff is happy to accept.

“For Lewis, the absolute view of Turkey is that he lost one point more than Max did in the previous race in Russia with a similar engine change, which we can live with,” he said.  “The relative view when you’re in the heat of a race is to always want another position, to score more points – that’s who we are as racers and we wouldn’t want that competitive intensity any other way.”

Wolff is expecting more twists and turns to come before the end of the season as Hamilton and Verstappen battle for the Drivers’ Championship and Mercedes and Red Bull Racing scrap it out for the Constructors’ crown, and another twist could come this weekend in the first United States Grand Prix since 2019.

“This season has had so many twists and turns, so we’re ready to react to whatever comes our way this weekend in Texas,” said Wolff.  “We’re excited to be back in Austin for the first time since 2019, it’s always a popular stop on the calendar and we can’t wait to see all the passionate American fans.

“The Circuit of the Americas is a fun track for the drivers. There are some really fast and flowing corners, plus some technical sections and good overtaking opportunities. It’s got a bit of everything and is a great track for racing, so I’m sure we’re set for an entertaining Grand Prix.”

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