Toto Wolff has praised the entire Mercedes team for exceeding expectations in the first half of the season, before going on to urge those at Brackley to increase their efforts even further for the final nine races.
Mercedes currently occupy second place in the constructors’ championship, trailing leaders Red Bull by 69 points but sit ahead of Lotus, Ferrari and McLaren who all finished ahead of the German team last season. With Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton winning three races between them and claiming 70% of all pole positions, 2013 has marked a big step forward for the Silver Arrows, but Wolff is keen on maintaining this momentum in Belgium this weekend.
“Our first half of the season exceeded expectations but we will continue to work hard and to improve performance further in the second half,” the team’s executive director explained. “On paper, Spa is a circuit that should suit our car, and Nico and Lewis will be at their best on a real driver’s circuit. We have a strong all-round package at the moment and good momentum after our win in Hungary.”
Wolff refused to make any predictions regarding the pecking order at Spa, with his only assurance being that most teams will have a particular aero package for the race. Lotus in particular are widely expected to run with their passive DRS device for the weekend.
“Everybody will bring a special low-drag package for this circuit, so we won’t know who has found the best compromise before we start running on Friday,” Wolff said. “We cannot take anything for granted in terms of performance and Spa is always a demanding circuit for reliability.
“The key will be to do our homework well in practice in order to achieve a strong race result for the team.”
Mercedes certainly have impressed many due to their renewed vigour and pace in 2013 after a difficult backend of last season as Nico Rosberg and a retiring Michael Schumacher failed to set the timesheets alight. However, those who berated Hamilton for turning his back on McLaren in favour of a move to the German marque have been forced to eat their words as his old team languish in the midfield – a somewhat alien occurrence for the team in its fifty year history.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.