Mercedes chief Toto Wolff and his team are fired up to repeat the success they enjoyed in Barcelona on the streets of Monte Carlo as the Formula 1 circus sets up tent in the principality for the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.
While Lewis Hamilton powered to a hard fought victory, Wolff laments the fate that befell Valtteri Bottas with a DNF and is adamant his team will do all to make up for the mishap.
Speaking ahead of Round 6 of the 2017 Formula 1 Wolrd Championship in Monaco, Wolff said, “It’s always good to come away from a race weekend with a points advantage, no matter how small. But the gap is just that: very small. We are in a massive fight with Ferrari. On one side, this is very exciting and challenging. But on the other side, it is going to stretch us to our limits. You cannot base your current assessment on the balance of power on just Barcelona.”
“It was painful to lose 15 valuable points with Valtteri retiring from P3. We’ve identified the root cause of the problem, which was the turbo. We haven’t seen that defect before, which shows you that you need to be double diligent. This is a technical sport and if you stretch your limits, you’ll encounter technical problems.”
Also on Wolff’s radar was the performance of the Mercedes junior drivers Pascal Wehrlein at Sauber and Force India’s Esteban Ocon, “If you look at the results, both Pascal and Esteban had a really good weekend. Pascal made the one-stop strategy work and could have been P7 – but P8 is still very good for him and very valuable points for Sauber. I’m happy to see how Pascal has fitted into the team. He speaks highly about the team and is on a great learning curve.”
“As for Esteban, Force India have been very successful in scoring regular points. Esteban is making a good contribution to that. He will really need to stretch himself to beat Checo (Pérez), who is the benchmark for him, but I’m interested to see how that battle develops. They’re pushing each other to new levels and Force India will be the beneficiary.”
“We expect Monaco to be a completely different ball game to Barcelona. The circumstances, working environment and driving challenges are completely different to anywhere else – and you need to get everything exactly right if you want to perform to your maximum around those streets. Not every factor is under your control, either, so you need to turn fortune in your favour at the right time if you want everything to come together.”
“Monaco is also one of our busiest races. We welcome many guests, executives and partners, who all contribute to our success in different ways. It’s extra special to have this group cheering for us, so we look forward to their support at the track.”
“Every weekend will push us to the limit; this is the new reality of Formula One in 2017. The last three years were extraordinary. But this season I have re-discovered why I love the sport. I love the intense competition. This competition means that you won’t be winning easily – but that you’ll have a fierce fight on your hands. Because of that, the feeling is even greater when you manage to come out on top, as we did in Spain.”
“If we get the job done in Monaco, I’m pretty sure we’ll bring down the garage roof. We’re all properly fired up for this fight, so let’s see what we can do…” concluded Wolff.