Toto Wolff admits he was targeting a bigger points return for Mercedes from recent tracks it has been traditionally strong at after winning only one of the past four races.
While victorious on the latest addition to the calendar at Paul Ricard, Mercedes failed to win in Canada, Austria or Britain where it has been dominant in the V6 era. Sebastian Vettel took victory in Montreal and Silverstone while both Mercedes drivers retired at the Red Bull Ring, and Wolff was hopeful of opening up an advantage over Ferrari rather than be trailing in the constructors’ championship at this stage of the season.
“I think what we’ve seen this season is a little bit of a different pattern,” Wolff said. “Everybody brings updates to every race and there is never a silver bullet that provides you three tenths or four tenths, which was the difference between us and Ferrari last year.
“It is just a constant learning of the tire, which is the single most important denominator of performance. You get it right and you get it wrong. I believe that if we would have had 10 degrees less temperature in qualifying, maybe we would have had a bigger gap and maybe the same [in the race]. But it is what it is and we just need to learn, understand and just try to get in control of the tires in the best possible way.
“Yes I would have loved for us to build a gap in Austria, Montreal and Silverstone because we lose some in Hungary and we lose some in Singapore. But we will look at it now and try to fight and score as many points as possible.”
While Valtteri Bottas dropped from the lead to fourth place on old tires at Silverstone, Wolff says Mercedes has to focus on the areas it can influence directly — such as its starts — after being happy with the call for both of its drivers to do the opposite to Ferrari in the closing stages on Sunday.
“I think the first thing we need to understand is where can we improve and where can we engineer. We need to find some performance in the race starts to avoid incidents like we saw. This is something we can change.
“From then on I think the strategy was pretty good. We could have saved the soft in Q2 but I don’t think it would have made a big outcome because we wouldn’t have pitted. We decided to go for the track position — it was the right call in my view, and we wouldn’t have won the race otherwise in my opinion. So, fine with that.
“Both drivers had the same call to do the opposite. We would have done the opposite because I think both strategies had a realistic chance, it was 50-50 I guess. We want to be aggressive. Obviously some others are more aggressive but it’s about racing fair and square and having the best car. This is what is in our hands and we try to improve where we can improve.”