Toto Wolff thinks life will be harder for Mercedes at Interlagos compared to Mexico

Sam Cooper
Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff. Zandvoort September 2022.

Toto Wolff in the paddock at the Dutch Grand Prix. Zandvoort September 2022.

Toto Wolff believes Mercedes will not be as strong as they were in Mexico during this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

Mercedes came as close as they have all season to a win in Mexico City with only Max Verstappen proving to be quicker than Lewis Hamilton.

With Ferrari running a less powerful engine due to the high altitude of the track, it allowed Mercedes to cut the gap in the Constructors’ Championship to 40 points with two races left of the season.

But team principal Wolff has warned they may not enjoy the same level of success as they did in Mexico with Interlagos not offering the same characteristics as the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

“We didn’t optimise every opportunity in Mexico, but we still managed to score good points with Lewis’s great drive to the podium and George [Russell]’s P4 finish,” Wolff said.

“It was encouraging to be in the fight for the win, showing how far we’ve come since the start of the year. While we’re always aiming for the top spot, we should be proud of that progress and we’re aiming to keep it going through the end of the year and into 2023.

“Brazil kicks off the final double-header of the season. Interlagos is an iconic track and the scene of so many special F1 moments, including Lewis’s spectacular performance last year in the Sprint and the race.

“On paper, it shouldn’t be quite as strong a circuit for us as Mexico, but regardless, we want to keep up our momentum from recent races. So, we will keep working hard to hopefully be in the mix once again.”

Brazil has been a happy hunting ground in the past for Hamilton with the Brit having won there three times, as well as finishing P5 despite starting last in 2021’s Sprint race.

Should he win this weekend, which would be his first victory of the season, Hamilton will join Michael Schumacher and Carlos Reutemann as the driver with the second-most amount of wins at the grand prix, bested by only Alain Prost.

It is also set to be a special weekend for Hamilton after his honorary Brazilian citizenship was confirmed. Hamilton paid tribute to his hero and Brazilian icon Ayrton Senna upon receiving the citizenship.

Wolff also praised Hamilton and said he was looking forward to their continued success in the future.

“We’re proud to be coming back to Brazil, with Lewis having been made an honorary citizen this week and having had such good memories there in the past,” Wolff said.

Read more: Can Lewis Hamilton end Brazil’s lengthy wait for a ‘home’ grand prix winner?