Ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, Toto Wolff has spoken of the challenge his Mercedes team faces if it is to come out on top in its championship fight with Ferrari.
His comments follow what he described as a “bruising” race in Monaco, which saw Lewis Hamilton struggle in practice before qualifying only thirteenth, and Valtteri Bottas beaten to the podium by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
“It’s painful, but we are not the favourites for this year’s championship,” Wolff said. “At the moment it’s Ferrari. They have a very strong package and we need to rise to the challenge to prove once again that we are the team to beat.
“Everybody at the factories is working absolutely flat out to assess the current difficulties we are facing. We’ve had bruising weekends [like Monaco] before and it’s about showing resilience and getting up after falling.
“We have to fight for all we are worth for every single win, pole position, podium finish and every point. You can no longer expect when you look at a timesheet that the two Mercedes will be right at the top.”
Steve Etherington/Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport
Wolff also likened the Monaco result to that of the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix, in which the Silver Arrows again failed to reach the podium after losing pole and the win to Sebastian Vettel, and added that in both cases the team’s response has been “to define our objectives, work with the data we have and then come up with the right solutions.
“We gave ourselves a deadline [after Singapore] to address that setback before switching our focus to the next race in Suzuka, which we won. We’ve done exactly the same thing after Monaco—addressing the problems before turning our attention to Montréal.”
Looking ahead to the upcoming Canadian Grand Prix, the Mercedes boss said the team is confident that Montréal will offer “the chance to bounce back with a strong result”, as the circuit has been a successful one for Mercedes’ two drivers throughout their careers.
Lewis Hamilton is the only repeat winner of the race on the 2017 grid, and with five wins in Montréal to his name is the most successful driver at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve besides Michael Schumacher. Valtteri Bottas, meanwhile, has finished on the podium there in the last years, and also qualified an impressive third for the 2013 race in his debut year with Williams-Renault.
James Matthews, Deputy Editor