Having failed to destroy Red Bull at Monza and Sochi, Toto Wolff concedes historically strong tracks for one team or another have no barring on this year’s championship.
Following back-to-back victories for Max Verstappen in Belgium and in the Netherlands, Lewis Hamilton had hoped to not only swing the championship in his favour at Monza but do it with an emphatic win, and perhaps even a 1-2 for Mercedes.
That didn’t happen with neither title rival scoring in the Sunday grand prix with Verstappen even extending his lead over Hamilton to five points with his P2 in the Saturday’s sprint qualifying.
Two weeks later Mercedes again had a golden opportunity to seize the advantage, racing at the Sochi circuit, a track where Mercedes are Formula 1’s only winners.
Even better for the Brackley squad and Hamilton, Verstappen would be starting at the very back of the grid having incurred an engine penalty.
But while Hamilton did win the race, Verstappen put in a brilliant recovery drive to finish runner-up to the reigning World Champion.
Instead of the big margin Mercedes had hoped for, Hamilton only leads by two points.
This moment…😃 🥰 pic.twitter.com/xrIhZlCjHa
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) September 28, 2021
Next up on the calendar are the Turkish and American races.
But while not much is known about who should, theoretically, come out tops in Turkey as last year Formula 1 returned to Istanbul last season after a 10-year absence, Austin is very much Hamilton’s track with the Brit having won at the Circuit of the Americas on six occasions.
Wolff, though, reckons this year’s championship has shown that even circuits were either Mercedes or Red Bull have been strong in the past, don’t play to form.
“I’ve stopped trying to anticipate whether it’s historically a strong race for us, because everything changes with the new regulations,” he said.
“Definitely we knew that Monza and Sochi would be coming more towards us, but the reality is we are where we are, and this is the points gap.
“I doubt that any of the two teams will make massive swings up or down, it’s just about continuing to do the best possible job.
“But I don’t think either driver or either team can have any comfort in the current situation, because there is just no gap in terms of points.”
Mercedes lead Red Bull by 397.5 to 364.5 in the Constructors’ Championship.
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