Toto Wolff, the team principal of the Mercedes F1 team, admits that for the first time in the turbo hybrid era, his team is lacking pace compared to Red Bull.
Toto Wolff’s reaction came after the Styrian GP in which Mercedes was found to be too light over the entire weekend. Only during the third practice session did Lewis Hamilton seem to have a glimmer of hope as he finished at the top of the tables. However, during qualifying, Verstappen once again put the finishing touches on the i by taking pole.
The young Dutchman also cashed in on that pole by remaining in the lead from start to finish and Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes was powerless to do anything about it. His team boss, Toto Wolff, has also seen that and he also admits that his team is simply lacking at the moment.
“A double podium with the second fastest car was the best damage control we could do today,” said Mercedes motorsport boss yesterday after the race. “We fought with everything we had, but it wasn’t enough.”
“Not a bad result, but what’s difficult is that it’s the first race in eight years where you just miss the pace,” he told Sky Sports F1 after the race.
“Red Bull clearly had the faster package this weekend, and we didn’t have the pace to put strategic pressure on Max, who could anticipate every move we made. He just controlled the race from the lead.”
Looking for a solution
“Over the next few days we will be scratching our heads and trying to watch the race to see if there is anything we could have done better in terms of set-up.”
“We have found some clues to qualifying,” he added. “But is there anything we could have optimized with the race pace?”
But Toto Wolff also sees positives such as Valtteri Bottas battling his way to a podium finish after being given a three-place grid penalty following his pit lane spin on Friday.
“With Valtteri, we managed to snatch third place from Red Bull and he did a fantastic job watching the tires until the last corner and staying ahead of Perez.”
Little time to respond
Next weekend, another race on the Red Bull Ring is scheduled for the Austrian GP. It is therefore short time to find answers to the questions that arose last weekend, but Wolff emphasizes that the focus remains on 2022.
“We knew the time would come when it would get harder for us and it is now.”
“We have stopped developing for this year because we believe next year is so important to get it right and they just keep coming up with updates.”
“All credit to their strategy. Red Bull is still developing strongly, while our focus is now mainly on 2022.”
“But that doesn’t mean the championship is over. Far from it. We will fight with every weapon we have, and the battle is still in full swing.”
“We just have to put our heads together and make the most of the package we have.”
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