Toto Wolff believes the updated Mercedes looked like a car that won the championship at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton interacted with Kevin Magnussen on the opening lap in Barcelona and stumbled back to the pits with a puncture, leaving him a long way adrift at the back of the field. While the driver suggested saving miles on the drive unit from that position, Mercedes was confident in race pace and told Hamilton a top eight was possible, which he duly delivered with an impressive recovery to fifth, finishing only fourth. lost place in penultimate place. round due to reliability issues.
“The dynamics between the driver and the team is so important,” said Wolff. “And it’s obvious – you get an accident early in the race and you say to yourself ‘not again’, and you’re not competing because I think he was 38 seconds or so behind the last cars after his stop And that’s basically game over.
“But then it was important to let him go and show this very good pace. It was not only his morale, but also our morale. And who would have thought that he would climb all the way to fourth before the problem occurred.
“And that looked like a race car winning the world championship he drove in, that wouldn’t have been possible in the previous races. That reminded me of last year and the years before, when a car is really at its best. And the driver.”
Wolff says the improvements also give him confidence that Mercedes can come back to the title fight this season, even if his comments were a reflection of how strong the team has been in previous years.
“That reminded me of the race cars of previous seasons, where you’re more than 30 seconds behind the whole field and you get all the way to the front and close to the podium. And that is very encouraging and shows that we have taken another step.
“Can we fight for a world championship? Well, we bet we can. But we just need a car that can finish first and second. And I think we have reasons to believe that we can get there, but also if you look at the odds of them being against us.
“But car racing is a different game. We have seen that Ferrari have not scored many points, although they should. We will definitely go to great lengths to get us back in the game.”
Another highlight of the race was the performance of George Russell, who finished third after a close battle with both Red Bull drivers and a brief stint in the lead.
“These rules caught us off guard in a way. And step by step we understand what we need to do to bring performance back into the car.
“We saw another big step this weekend, probably cutting the gap to the front runners in half. But there is still a long way to go to be at the very top of the battle.
“But that said, we’re third with George and that’s strong. His driving was incredible, the defending, the positioning. I’m so proud and happy in a way to see that. And a great star or a great driver in the making.”