Toto Wolff warns of ‘mega window’ behind sudden Mercedes resurgence

Henry Valantine
Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. Spain June 2023.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell celebrate on the podium for Mercedes in Barcelona. Spain June 2023.

Toto Wolff was understandably pleased to see Mercedes take their first double podium of the season at the Spanish Grand Prix, but warned the conditions in Barcelona opened up a “mega window” that allowed the W14 to perform at its best.

The weather in Spain was cooler than it was for Friday practice and the teams’ strategic worries over tyre wear in particular appeared to be eased as the race went on, with George Russell in particular reporting strong performance on his soft tyres in his opening stint as he worked his way back from the sixth row of the grid.

Russell eventually joined Lewis Hamilton on the podium, the pair rounding out the top three behind a dominant Max Verstappen at the head of the field during the Spanish Grand Prix in Mercedes’ best result of the season to date.

With the team having introduced its first big upgrade package of the season in Monaco, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya offered a more representative look at how well the improvements will have taken effect within the car, and the race pace Russell and Hamilton had saw them leapfrog that of Ferrari and Aston Martin on Sunday.

Their 34-point haul saw them jump up to second place in the Constructors’ Championship leaving Spain as well, but the Mercedes team principal believes the conditions the drivers had to work with played into his team’s favour.

“We just need to chip away,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1 when asked by former Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg if challenging Red Bull towards the end of the season is possible.

“And as you know from our time [together], we were really good at grinding.

“Once there is a setup direction and a development direction, we just go for it and we have that advantage in terms of aero time, but we also need to be realistic.

“Today the temperatures really suited us, it was nice and fresh, not too cold, not too hot. The car was in an absolute mega window.” recommends

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While both Mercedes drivers made it onto the podium, Verstappen still took a dominant victory at the front of the pack, earning a third career Grand Chelem of pole, fastest lap, race victory and leading every lap on his way to leading Hamilton home by 24 seconds come the chequered flag.

When asked if their performance in Barcelona was a sign that the eight-time Constructors’ champions are ‘back’ in earnest, the team principal was quick to try and play down there being too much excitement – but acknowledged the team’s upgrades have sent them the right way.

“Let’s keep our expectations real,” Wolff stated.

“There’s such a long way to go in order to catch Red Bull and we just need to grind away, [but] it’s a good moment to see that the development direction is right.”