Wolff: Mercedes only ‘halved the gap’ to Red Bull, Ferrari

Sam Cooper
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff being interviewed. December 2021

Lewis Hamilton may have finished on the podium but Toto Wolff believes there is still work to do as Mercedes have only “halved the gap” to Ferrari and Red Bull.

Mercedes continued on their upward trajectory with another P3-P4 finish at the Red Bull Ring, their third in the last four races, but there was still a gap between themselves and the leaders Ferrari and Red Bull.

The team have gone a long way since the early days of the season when they spent more time battling for a midfield spot than they did for a podium but the result in Austria again comes with the caveat that they were only there because a Red Bull and Ferrari DNFed.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the race, team boss Wolff acknowledged this and said they were currently “in the middle of nowhere.”

“It’s just we’re missing a few things here and there,” he said. “I think we’ve halved the gap over the last few months. We understand better, but that’s still third for us.

“We are somewhere right in the middle of nowhere but I would say if I tried to pick the positives in the race pace today, if we would have, which we didn’t, start right in the top six probably we could have held on to Max [Verstappen] and not be too far away.”

It would have been a stressful weekend for the 50-year-old who saw both of his cars damaged on the Saturday. The team were left running around for parts and Wolff described the rear wing fitted to George Russell’s car as a “barn door.”

He continued: “We’re lacking speed on the straight. I think we are much too draggy, maybe much is too much, but we are draggy.”

“Even more draggy on George’s car. The only rear wing left was a barn door that we put on there but we are too draggy and we seem to be lacking power here. For the first time again, the last few races were really strong, maybe it’s the altitude but it’s something that all the guys will analyse and for sure compensate in the next races.

“It’s actually good because we are starting to see that we’re chipping away performance from the leaders which is important. And we find ourselves in a situation which we have always discussed, which is one day after eight consecutive titles that series is gonna break and we want to make it a blip and not some kind of longer cycle.”