Toto Wolff says there were plenty of positives to take away from the Singapore Grand Prix for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, even though they fell short on their target of taking their first win of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.
Both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton pitted for fresh tyres under a late race virtual safety car in a bid to use them to catch and pass Carlos Sainz Jr.. However, despite being able to pass Charles Leclerc, neither driver was able to pass Lando Norris in second, with Sainz out of reach in first.
Russell crashed out on the final lap to end his chance of a podium – something Wolff says he’ll recover and come back stronger from – but Hamilton was able to close out the weekend with a third-place finish.
“It was a thrilling Sunday night in Singapore,” said Wolff, the Team Principal at Mercedes. “Although the result wasn’t quite what we were hoping for, there are plenty of positives we can take away.
“We were bold and aggressive with our strategy calls. The pace of the car all weekend was strong. We executed well as a team and gave it a real shot for victory as the racers we are.
“It was a great drive to the podium from Lewis. He showed impressive pace throughout the race, especially the final stint. P3 was a deserved reward for his efforts.
“For George, he’d performed faultlessly all weekend. He was giving it absolutely everything in the search for victory. That’s absolutely what we want to see. It was a small mistake on the final lap and that will make it even more painful for him. I know he will bounce back strongly.”
Wolff says this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix at the legendary Suzuka International Racing Course will offer Mercedes a chance to score a good result, and he hopes Russell and Hamilton can help the team extend their advantage over Scuderia Ferrari as the two teams battle over second place in the Constructors’ Championship.
“We have another race in just a few days’ time,” he said. “Japan is always a unique event with very passionate fans. The track is incredibly challenging, and the drivers love racing on it. The margins were so close in Singapore, so we’ll be aiming for another competitive showing in Suzuka.
“We lost some ground in the Constructors’ Championship to Ferrari at the last race. We are looking forwards not back, though. Our focus is on maximising the package we have and scoring as many points as possible.
“If we do so, I’m confident we can extend our advantage.”