Toto Wolff reflected on a podium-less race for Mercedes – on a day where Max Verstappen claimed a record 10th consecutive victory. Speaking post-race, Wolff made clear that such F1 records aren’t of great importance to him.
The Mercedes team principal saw Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finish in P6 and P5, respectively, maximising the W14’s performance in Monza.
In a circuit where Williams were the only Mercedes-powered team to flourish, the Italian GP was a race of damage limitation.
Prior to today’s GP, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen exchanged a series of jabs at each other off-track. The British driver criticised his Dutch rival for facing relatively weak teammates, whilst the reigning Champion accused Hamilton of being jealous.
With this context (after being asked about the impressiveness of Verstappen’s new record), Toto Wolff was in no hurry to offer congratulations:
“Yeah, I mean, our situation was maybe a little bit different – because we had two guys fighting against each other within the team,” he told Sky Sports.
“I don’t know if he cares about the record. It’s not something that would be important for me, any of those numbers.
“It’s for Wikipedia, and nobody reads that anyway.”
Mercedes’ current weaknesses will be largely unchanged until the end of 2023, when the Silver Arrows will turn the page from the W14.
A flawed philosophy to start the season has limited the German team’s potential this year. Primarily, Wolff’s team was forced to diagnose its issues in the opening rounds – rather than find more performance.
Hamilton’s freshly signed two-year contract will place additional pressure on Mercedes to re-assert themselves as title contenders in next year’s campaign.
Today again demonstrated that the Hamilton-Russell duo will typically maximise their car. The team’s responsibility is to provide them with race-winning machinery, or else they risk watching Red Bull break more records.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang