Toto Wolff: “There’s ground to recover on Sunday”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Team boss Toto Wolff says Mercedes always knew Monaco and Baku wouldn’t suit their car, but he hopes they can recover in the race on Sunday.

Mercedes had the worst Friday free practice in a long time at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton in P11 and Valtteri Bottas in P16 in FP2.

After practice Valtteri Bottas said he thinks there’s “something fundamentally wrong” with Mercedes’ car in Baku. At first Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff decided not to talk to the media immediately, but later he gave his comment on the sessions and agreed with the Finn.

“You can clearly see from the lap times there is something fundamentally wrong and we are trying to tune the car so it actually functions, but we haven’t been able to do that,“ said the Austrian.

“We knew that Monaco and Baku are not tracks that suit us. Most of the layout there is no fast corners.

“It’s all stop and go, it’s all 90-degree corners or more tricky Monaco style, so it was always clear that it would be difficult for us.

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“I believe we have a good racecar, so there’s ground to recover on Sunday and then learn. It is what it is. We’re trying to go as fast as possible with the kit that is available.”

After two street circuits Formula 1 is set to return to a traditional track on June 20 for the French Grand Prix. Wolff was asked if he believed Mercedes would regain its performance once F1 moves to ‘normal’ circuits.

“You can never make that assumption because neither Red Bull nor Ferrari or any other team sleep.

“There’s good people and that’s why if we say now it’s going to be all ok in France and in Austria that you can fall flat on your nose.

“It’s about learning here and trying to understand why these types of tracks don’t suit us because that will help us on the more regular tracks,” concluded Mercedes’ team boss.

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