Toto Wolff expects Mercedes to face another tricky weekend in Baku after suffering their worst result of the season in Monaco last time out.
Mercedes head into the Azerbaijan Grand Prix having ceded their lead in both the drivers’ and constructors’ championship, after Lewis Hamilton finished seventh and a pit stop error forced Valtteri Bottas to retire in Monaco.
Hamilton is now four points adrift of Verstappen at the top of the drivers’ standings, while Bottas is fourth, behind McLaren driver Lando Norris.
Looking back on tough weekend, Wolff feels that the team “learned some crucial lessons” in adversity.
“Weekends like Monaco are the ones that keep you coming back for more,” he said. “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.”
Despite the pleasing response from the Mercedes team back in the factory that Wolff described, he explained that the Azerbaijan Grand Prix could prove to be another challenging weekend.
“While Baku is 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,” he added.
“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.
“There will be swings back and forth in this fight which is exciting for the sport and exciting for us. 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.”
Free practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix gets underway at 12:30pm local time on Friday.