Wolff: It’s ‘all to play for’ as Mercedes Target Second-Placed Ferrari in the Championship
13 September, Monza, Italy (IANS) After “maximizing” the points they earned at the Italian Grand Prix “on a racetrack that
13 September, Monza, Italy (IANS) After “maximizing” the points they earned at the Italian Grand Prix “on a racetrack that doesn’t suit the team,” Team Principal Toto Wolff is convinced that Mercedes can challenge Ferrari for second place in the 2022 constructors’ standings. At the beginning of the Monza weekend, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were close to the Ferrari and Red Bull cars setting the pace. Still, they fell behind as practice continued and finished qualifying nearly 1.5 seconds off the pole.
On the race day, though, Russell made the most of several grid penalties to transform a front-row start into the other podium finish. Meanwhile, Hamilton pushed his way through the field from P19 all the way up to fifth place, adding valuable points to Mercedes’ total. With six races remaining, Toto Wolff, the head of Mercedes, thinks his team still has a chance to pass Ferrari for second place in the F1 Constructors’ standings.
Mercedes is the only F1 team to have collected points in every race this season, despite its challenges in controlling the complicated problems that have plagued its new-generation car since its start. Although the Brackley team lost to Ferrari last weekend at Monza (on a track that wasn’t right for its W13 silver arrow), it still trails the Scuderia by 35 points, which is a manageable gap for Mercedes to close with six races remaining and, more significantly, six places where the German team is predicted to do well.
He continued, “It was fun. It was Hamilton’s drive from the back of the grid. When the tires came together, he appeared to be a little bit stuck initially, but he moved quickly. “I think it’s all to play for. According to Wolff, to see if we finish second, we must perform at our highest level every weekend”. When asked if P2 would ‘soften the blow’ of an otherwise challenging campaign, he replied, ‘Maybe a little, but there are more blows that we end up 30 seconds behind the lead, and that is the distance we need to close.’
He initially appeared to be stopped, but once the tires came together, the Austrian said, “It was fun to watch him struggle through the pack. He was extremely swift.” With six races remaining, we are 35 points down in the championship, so we just need to keep pushing forward and see where we are after Abu Dhabi, he added of the battle with Ferrari. But we also understand that the actual distance we need to close is the one that was 30 seconds ahead of us today.
Despite earning a warning for some errant driving behind the Safety Car near the end of the race, Nyck de Vries finished ninth, scored two points, and was chosen as Driver of the Day. Wolff didn’t forget about de Vries or his impressive job filling in for Alex Albon at Williams. “He gave it there all today, getting into a car that he had barely driven in FP3, and earning two points.” The Austrian praised the Dutchman for his performance.