Wolff: I was convinced we would be eating up the McLarens

Wolff: I was convinced we’d be eating up the McLarens

Wolff: I was convinced we would be eating up the McLarens

Toto Wolff revealed he was convinced Mercedes would eat up the McLarens during the 2023 British Grand Prix, a conviction that was obviously way off the mark.

Mercedes had a tough Qualifying at Silverstone, but benefitted from decent race pace and a Safety Car to get Lewis Hamilton onto the podium having started seventh.

Mercedes out Hamilton on Soft tyres after the Safety Car period hoping he will have a grip advantage over Lando Norris whose MCL60 had Hards bolted onto it, the same as Oscar Piastri who was being chased down by George Russell on Mediums.

However neither Black Arrow could catch the McLaren ahead, let alone overtake it, something Toto Wolff did not expect.

“To be honest, when the Safety Car was deployed, I was really sure if not convinced that we would be eating up the McLarens and finish with a P2 and P3, or maybe even challenge for the front,” he told Sky Sports F1 after Sunday’s grand prix.

“So you see just how strong their car was. We could have had a go in the first few laps, but they both raced very strong, and with their efficiency and top speed through the high-speed corners and on the straights, there was just no way of passing them.

“So that came as a surprise,” Wolff admitted, adding: “We are just lacking the straight line speed at the moment, here at Silverstone particularly.”

Interesting to see how McLaren perform in twisty tracks

As to why Hamilton couldn’t overtake Norris; the Austrian revealed: “The tyres went off but they had the better car. With the hard tyre being able to hold us behind on the soft – it’s just straight line speed.

“It will be very interesting to see on the more twisty circuits,” he said of McLaren’s newfound pace. “In any case they made a big step ahead and it’s good for us to see how quickly we can catch up. We have to go for them and the Red Bulls.”

Later, in Mercedes’ post-race media brief, Wolff said: “We’ve performed well today compared to in Qualifying. We’ve gained some points on our closest competitors in the Constructors’ Championship, so we can say it’s a solid day.

“P3 and P5 is OK, but no more than solid. I see the positives from this weekend though. Whilst podiums are good, it’s more important to see that the car has potential, and our eyes are on closing the gap to the very front.

“We wanted to have an offset between the two cars today and the Soft tyre provided a good getaway from the line. It also looked quite resilient on Friday, and it proved even more so today,” he exlpined. “We were surprised to see how long it went.

|After the restart, Lewis’ tyres went off and the McLarens were able to hold us behind. Their resurgence is good to see. If you make the right decisions, you can clearly make a large step. It is good for the sport that if you do the right things then you can move forward.

“Today, they had a better car, and you could see particularly in the closing stages on the Hard tyre just how strong they were,” Wolff concluded.