Wolff wants trouble-free Baku race for Mercedes

Michelle Foster

Although Mercedes head to Azerbaijan on the back of a hat-trick of 1-2 results, Toto Wolff knows too well how easy those can be lost – it happened last year in Baku.

Mercedes are leading both this year’s championships after an emphatic start to this season.

They have finished 1-2 in all three grands prix with Valtteri Bottas taking the Australian GP win before Lewis Hamilton triumphed in Bahrain and again in China.

And they have done it without always having the best car on the grid.

“Three 1-2s in the first three races represent a fantastic start to the season,” Wolff declared in Mercedes’ Baku preview.

“We were able to maximise our opportunities, although we didn’t always have the fastest car.

“The team has done a very good job and performed strongly in every department, the double-stacked pit stop in Shanghai is just one visible example of many that are happening every week at all levels of the team.

“But we know that we need to keep pushing.

“The next stop will take us to Azerbaijan where we’ve seen some very entertaining races in recent years and I’m sure that this year will be no different.”

Last year Mercedes looked to be on track for a 1-2 result in Azerbaijan with Bottas leading Hamilton.

However a puncture late in the grand prix meant the Finn did not finish while Hamilton was handed the win.

This year Wolff hopes both his drivers stay out of trouble.

“The layout of the track presents unique challenges and it will be interesting to see which team will find the best compromise to deal with the mixture of long straights and slow corners.

“Baku is not purely about performance, though, and staying out of trouble is also important for a good result in Azerbaijan.

“Valtteri drove a strong race last year but a puncture denied him a well-deserved victory shortly before the end. He’s had a good start to this season and I’m sure he will be hungry to go for the points he didn’t get last year.

“Unlike last year, Lewis heads to Baku leading the Championship and will undoubtedly be looking to repeat his win from 2018.”

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