Singapore Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Toto Wolff says the Singapore circuit doesn’t play to their car’s strengths.
While Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton head for Marina Bay leading both championships, team boss Toto Wolff is aware that the venue has not traditionally played to their strengths. While Hamilton won the 2017 event, this was after a calamitous first lap saw the faster Ferraris collide off the start line, and took out Max Verstappen’s Red Bull with them.
“Singapore has features that we’ve struggled with in the past.” said Wolff. “The short straights, the slow, tight corners and the bumpy surface all make the Marina Bay Street Circuit one of the trickiest tracks of the season for us. In 2015, we endured one of our most painful experiences in recent years there. Last year, we started the race from the third row – and came home with a win and a third place. On paper, the track should favour the Ferraris, but the Championship fight is so close that predictions are almost meaningless.”
Hamilton’s win in Monza propels him to thirty points clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel with seven rounds remaining. The victory was also somewhat against expectation, with Ferrari seemingly the quicker car. However, Vettel’s first lap error meant Hamilton only had to fight against Kimi Raikkonen and had the help of Valtteri Bottas to do so. Wolff said Monza vindicated their hard work:
“The result in Italy was a great reward for everyone in the team who has been working tirelessly to improve our performance. We knew that the race in Monza would be another big challenge for us, after the defeat in Spa, but we managed to prevail through a combination of individual skill and fantastic teamwork. However, we also know that we’ve been strong at Monza in recent years and the track characteristics make the Italian Grand Prix a bit of an outlier.”
“We’re in the middle of a monumental Championship fight and I’m simply amazed by the energy in Brackley and Brixworth at the moment. Each team member knows that we’re facing the biggest challenge in our recent history. But every man and woman in the team is willing to push themselves to the limit; we will be fighting with everything we’ve got for these two Championships.”