Wolff on what Mercedes needs to ensure to retain title


Mercedes boss Toto Wolff called the Spanish Grand Prix an “epic race” after Lewis Hamilton managed to defeat Sebastian Vettel to even matters up after the first five races of this season. He, of course, got help from calls on the pit wall.

Hamilton took a while to get going in Barcelona, but was eventually able to steer past Sebastian Vettel in the closing laps.

“An epic race and I hope this fight continues like this because it’s how motor racing and Formula 1 should be,” said Wolff.

“Obviously we’ve lost Valtteri which is very bitter sweet for us but watching Seb and Lewis fight it out on track, have the strategists fighting against each other, it’s like Formula 1 should be.

“I think we improve every weekend and start to understand how the tires interact with the cars and it’s going to be a development race until the end of the season in my opinion.

“About understanding how the car functions best, how to develop the competition, how to put on more downforce, how to improve the engine. You can’t miss out on those topics. To win the championship this year you will have to do well in all those areas.”

Wolff went on to explain that the decision to pit Hamilton just as the virtual safety period was ending was what gave the Brit a real upper hand in the race.

“There was a bit of thought process in the strategy group, at a certain stage we planned to do the opposite to Sebastian – and then the magic call was the one to take the pit stop at a time when it looked like the VSC would end soon. Because Sebastian could have reacted to that, pitted next lap.

“You lose much when you do a regular pit stop during the race. Your pit stop loss is around 21 seconds and all cars are at speed so you lose time being stationary and by being slow in the pit lane.

“And on the VSC everyone on the track is moving much slower so the effective pit stop loss is less. If you’re able to pit under a VSC or a safety car for that matter, I don’t know the overall number but the actual loss is probably around 12, 13 seconds so it is much better.”

Wolff did not shy away from praising Bottas for his role in the win, with the Finnish driver holding up Vettel as Hamilton made some quick ground on his Ferrari rival.

“It was real teamwork and do not forget the one who lost out today in Valtteri, keeping him out and made Sebastian lose five or six seconds. Overall it was a great team result, meaning the driver, the team, the teammate, everybody.

“We knew we would be extending the mileage. And it’s unfortunate and we had it in the past – and today it bit Valtteri. Valtteri played an important role in Lewis’ victory today because his position was third before the failure and he couldn’t really do anything any more, probably the car was damaged after contact to Kimi in Turn 1.

“And he held on to it, to bring in valuable points for himself and the team, and then unfortunately we had the engine problem.”

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