Mercedes chief Toto Wolff previews the Chinese Grand Prix weekend, Round 2 of the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship, at Shanghai International Circuit.
Toto Wolf on Shanghai: “Australia was the first weekend for the new technical regulations, with a new car, new tyres and a new driver. We collected lots more information that will be flowing into all future thinking and will help us make better decisions.
“As a group and as individuals, we are all on a personal development slope in this team. We try to improve every single day. On that particular day in Melbourne, Ferrari were better, so we now have to work out how we can improve again to beat them.
“The last three years were an outlier in Formula One and you need to be careful to manage your own expectations. If you think you are going to cruise to victory in the future, based on a track record of success, you’ll be proven wrong very quickly. You need to put the finger in the wound, identify your weaknesses and then respond.
“We achieved a double podium in the first race of a brand new set of regulations – a strong result by any standard. But that doesn’t mean we can be satisfied because there are still many areas where we can be better. We have been focused on these during the past week. It’s not a case of looking at the competition for inspiration but of getting our own homework done to maximise our performance.
“On this subject, I’ve been encouraged by how both of our drivers are approaching this season so far. Lewis is the best Lewis that I’ve seen in the last four years, both on and off track. He has become a pillar of this team and he proved that in Melbourne. Valtteri has settled in well and performed at a high level, rising above all the pressure and seamlessly taking over from Nico.
“Our young drivers have also impressed me in different ways. Seeing Esteban not only fighting with top drivers like Alonso and Hülkenberg but coming out as the winner to take his first F1 point in Melbourne made me proud.
“I feel for Pascal, because he has had all the bad luck. I’m impressed with the maturity he has shown to inform Sauber that he wouldn’t be able to perform at the level required in Melbourne. That took courage and selflessness, which I know earned him a lot of credit within the team.
“Now, he needs to build up his fitness and come back strong. I have no doubt that when he’s back in the car, he’ll prove he’s still the same Pascal.
“Australia was a weekend full of lessons, now we go to China ready and excited for another battle…”