Toto Wolff says the one-two finish for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team in last weekend’s São Paulo Grand Prix was just reward for the hard work the team has put in this year to overcome the difficulties they’ve faced with their W13 challenger.
George Russell led home Lewis Hamilton last Sunday at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, with Wolff, the Team Principal at Mercedes, saying it proved that the team were never prepared to stop believing or pushing to return to winning ways.
“To score a 1-2 finish in Brazil was an incredible result for the team, but it’s been made more special by the challenges we have faced this season and how we have overcome them,” said Wolff.
“Securing our first victory of the season is the result of so much hard work, dedication and determination from everyone involved. Our team never stopped believing and never stopped pushing. I couldn’t be prouder of them, and it shows just how strong our values are.”
Wolff was also full of praise for his drivers, with Russell taking a deserving first FIA Formula 1 World Championship victory and Hamilton overcoming a difficult start that involved contact with Max Verstappen to recover to second place.
“George was on it all weekend. Faultless on Sunday, he couldn’t be more deserving of his first F1 victory and we are so pleased for him,” Wolff added. “It’s a very special moment in his F1 career and a race we’ll all remember for many years to come.
“Lewis put in a brilliant recovery drive. His race pace was impressive, and he put in some incredible overtakes, to fight back through the field and secure the 1-2 finish for the team.”
Looking ahead to this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Wolff does not feel Mercedes will be as competitive as they were in Brazil, but they are still aiming to overhaul Scuderia Ferrari for second place in the Constructors’ Championship.
“We don’t expect to be as competitive in Abu Dhabi due to the circuit’s characteristics but given the surprises we’ve had this year with W13, we’ll just have to wait and see,” he said. “We still have an outside chance of P2 in the championship – and the points gap to Ferrari is the smallest it has been all year.
“Hopefully we’ll keep this positive momentum going to end the year strong.”