Mercedes hoping Monaco is low point, says Wolff

BY Adam Cooper • May 29, 2017

Too Wolff admits that Mercedes is still confused about its ongoing struggles to get the best out of the 2017 Pirelli tires after Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton finished fourth and seventh in Monaco.

Hamilton in particular has problems in qualifying, although he was able to salvage some points in the race. Wolff is hoping that Monaco will be the low point.

“Our target would be it’s the worst race of the season hopefully,” he said. “And an outlier like we had in Singapore [2015]. It’s just about bringing the tires into the right window. We have a fast car, but she doesn’t like the tires. And that is something we need to understand, why that is. Because Ferrari is able to put the car on the floor and it goes straight from the beginning till the end.

“Both drivers equally competitive or uncompetitive. That has been different all through the season for us. I have confidence in the group of people, the more mileage we do, the more data we collect, the better we will understand. Looking forward, I don’t know if we will have more difficult weekends or not. Normally, the longer it goes, the better it gets for us.”

Hamilton was much happier with the car later in the race: “Without touching the car, we have seen a car that was very difficult at the beginning, and Lewis didn’t like it, and he said that. After the pit stop, suddenly we were the quickest car out there, on defensive modes.

“You could say the Ferraris were switched off at that stage but we were too. I had a short chat with him afterwards, he said the grip was back. Why that is, remains an Italian mystery. We need to understand it because Ferrari is able to understand and race the car in these conditions.”

Meanwhile, Wolff was encouraged by the performance of Bottas, who qualified third despite the problems,

“Considering the fact we didn’t make the tires work, it was an exceptional weekend. That last lap he did was outstanding. We analyzed it over and over again and I think he outperformed the pace of the car this weekend, so all credit goes to him. Before we started the race, we knew P3 is probably the optimum result unless something happens at Turn 1 or lap one. When you have the slower car, you’re on the back foot.

“He did a super job in securing those points for P4. We had a bit of a laugh at the end, I don’t know if the transmission was broadcast. Max was all over him. Tony [Ross] came on the radio and said turn the engine if you feel comfortable. And he said, does it look like I’m comfortable? Under pressure he performs well. He showed with Sebastian in Sochi. He’s stepping up his game, with a great attitude. He keeps his cool. He’s a real pleasure to work with.”



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