Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is not counting on his team being able to repeat the dominant performance it delivered at the Spanish Grand Prix at every race.
After securing its first win of the season in a chaotic race in Azerbaijan, Mercedes was the class of the field in Barcelona as it secured a front-row lockout and then Lewis Hamilton led home a 1-2 by over 20 seconds. While the pace shown was ominous, Wolff pointed to pre-season testing at the same venue – where Mercedes also looked to have the quickest car – as a suggestion that the circuit itself is a particularly good one for this year’s W09.
“I would hope [the win is a turning point] but we’ve been pretty competitive in winter testing in Barcelona,” Wolff said. “I think the circuit suits us, the tarmac suits us, the cold weather suits us and [therefore] I would be careful with predictions.
“We’ve seen performance levels swing from racetrack to racetrack and even from day to day, and this is how we tackle it at the moment, to try and perform every single day.”
With Pirelli bringing tires with thinner tread to Barcelona, Wolff believes the change had little bearing on Mercedes’ level of competitiveness given the pace it had been able to show on the same track in the winter.
“They’re thinner. There’s lots of discussions about that. We’ve seen heavy blistering on most competitive teams in winter testing and it’s clear Pirelli wants to avoid that. We didn’t have any blistering this time around. Whether that made a difference, no I don’t think so. We had the other tire in winter testing and our performance gap was bigger than that; we went to Melbourne and it was pretty solid, so no I don’t think it had any influence.”
Race winner Hamilton described himself as having the synergy back with his car on Sunday, and Wolff believes the level of the defending champion’s performance was possible due to a number of different factors.
“I believe it’s about having a car underneath that does what you want, drives like you expect it to drive and it’s about confidence. Also, we’ve let him down in Melbourne – which could have been an easy win without an error – and that stays in your mind.
“He’s put all things behind him and had a very good weekend, and this is what racing drivers need. They need results and podiums and wins, and hopefully it’s the beginning of a good phase. Then immediately Monaco comes into my mind and the worry….”