Toto Wolff admitted that they expected their car to be strong in Montreal but they are leaving the circuit with a gap in expected and actual performance.
Everyone expected Lewis Hamilton to equal Michael Schumacher’s record win at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve last Sunday. It was not to be. A circuit where Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated last three seasons suffered a setback of a short.
In a power hungry circuit where Mercedes were not only not able to grab the pole, but they were also not able to pose any serious challenge to Sebastian Vettel who lead the race from lights out to the chequered flag. And to add to that injury Daniel Ricciardo didn’t let Lewis Hamilton pass him and the Brit has to settle for 5th ceding Championship lead to Vettel.
Toto Wolff, Mercedes team boss, post race admitted that the result was, “a major wake-up call for every single member of the team”.
“We came to Montreal expecting our car to be really strong. And we are leaving seeing we haven’t been where we thought we should be.
“You can’t come to Montreal and think it’s going to be a walk in the park, because that’s the kind of wake-up call you get.”
“It’s a three-way fight, six cars can win races. You can’t take anything for granted,” said Wolff as he accepted the new reality.
“Somehow this year the margins have become so tight: five cars within a tenth.
“This is why this year’s championship is going to be decided by the ones who make the least mistakes,” he pointed out further.
Earlier he said that you can’t expect a car to be quick everywhere. But the new reality is that they are not able to win even on the circuits they have dominated in the hybrid era.
Wolff said, “I still think we are not pretty good in Monaco or Singapore. That may be the odd outlier, but you can’t expect people to be strong everywhere.”
Since the start of the Canadian Grand Prix, nothing went in favour of the team. Like other engine manufacturers, they were supposed to bring their new spec engine, but a quality issue forced them to postponed the schedule.
“We were expecting to have the engine here and then on the last long run we spotted a potential issue,” Wolff confirmed. “I’d rather have it in the car on Friday morning, run it without problems, and then confirm it.”
He admitted that the season could well be won by the team that “brings the best development onto the engine on every single weekend – and that is the new reality.”
“You have to come to the weekend, all your preparation work has to be spot on,” he added. “There’s no time to be lost in terms of preparation on the Friday because it’s going to come and bite you.”
Winning World Championship this year is going to be a tall order. Any weak weekend for the top three teams could prove to be disastrous. While Mercedes still enjoy a lead in the Constructors’ Championship, they can’t afford a weekend like Canada before F1 breaks for summer.