Wolff sees slow progress at Mercedes: ‘Last year’s backlog halved’

- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img
Wolff sees slow progress at Mercedes: 'Last year's backlog halved'

The sounds from the Mercedes team this weekend sound different than has been the case so far this season. After Lewis Hamilton achieved a good first and second free practice session on Friday, the team also managed to perform reasonably well during qualifying. Although the starting places may not be high, the tide seems to be turning for the team.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff told German SkySports that the team’s efforts this weekend finally seem to be working. Achieving a podium finish may be a difficult task, but the gap to the podium has become smaller.

Faster times achieved this year

“Seventh and ninth is no fun,” says Wolff. Hamilton crossed the finish line in seventh during qualifying at the Suzuka circuit, his teammate George Russell in ninth. ‘But if there is anything positive it is the fact that Suzuka was probably one of our worst weekends last year, while now we are one tenth away from a solid position at the front. We’ll take that with us.’ By tenth he refers to the difference between Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, who finished in fourth place, and Hamilton.

The German racing team appears to have indeed improved its times compared to its performance in Japan last year. In 2023, the Mercedes car was more than a second slower than the Red Bull of reigning world champion Max Verstappen. In qualifying this weekend, the difference between Verstappen’s RB20 and Hamilton’s W15 was 0.569 seconds. Russell was slightly slower and maintained a gap of about 0.8 seconds.

Distance halved

Although the recent results are a step in the right direction for the Mercedes team, Wolff is not expecting a brilliant race. “The result is a shame and it will be extremely difficult in the race tomorrow,” the Austrian said. However, he does not detract from the fact that the team has made progress. ‘I see that what we have tried is working. I think our car wasn’t bad today. We tried something completely new, which brought us much closer to the top.’

Wolff has his own interpretation of the times set by Hamilton and Russell. “In reality, we have halved our deficit compared to last year,” he says. ‘We are also much closer to McLaren, which is positive. You can always keep counting: one tenth faster and we would have been on the second row of the grid. Is that good enough or not? Don’t know. All in all, this is not a pleasant result, but in terms of speed I see something positive.’

- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img
Latest news
- Advertisement -spot_img
Related news
- Advertisement -spot_img