Although they didn’t win the season opening Australian Grand Prix ten days ago, the Mercedes Formula One outfit head into round two in China this weekend confident that they can add a significant amount of points to their current tally and hopefully reclaim their place at the top of the leaderboard.
Lewis Hamilton has won this event four times already and Mercedes as a team have won it five, so the odds are stacked in their favour statistically speaking.
However, looking at the strength of the Ferrari drivers in Australia, they are well aware that they will have a tough fight on their hands this coming weekend.
“Australia was the first weekend for the new technical regulations, with a new car, new tyres and a new driver. We collected lots more information that will be flowing into all future thinking and will help us make better decisions,” team boss Toto Wolff explained. "As a group and as individuals, we are all on a personal development slope in this team. We try to improve every single day. On that particular day in Melbourne, Ferrari were better, so we now have to work out how we can improve again to beat them.”
"The last three years were an outlier in Formula One and you need to be careful to manage your own expectations. If you think you are going to cruise to victory in the future, based on a track record of success, you'll be proven wrong very quickly. You need to put the finger in the wound, identify your weaknesses and then respond.”
Although they didn’t win, a double podium with second and third was still a good result regardless, especially considering the circumstances. However, that doesn't mean they are sitting on their laurels….
“We achieved a double podium in the first race of a brand new set of regulations - a strong result by any standard. But that doesn't mean we can be satisfied because there are still many areas where we can be better. We have been focused on these during the past week. It's not a case of looking at the competition for inspiration but of getting our own homework done to maximise our performance,” Wolff continued before going on to say how proud he is of both drivers…
"On this subject, I've been encouraged by how both of our drivers are approaching this season so far. Lewis is the best Lewis that I've seen in the last four years, both on and off track. He has become a pillar of this team and he proved that in Melbourne. Valtteri has settled in well and performed at a high level, rising above all the pressure and seamlessly taking over from Nico.”
First practice will get underway on the Shanghai International Circuit this Friday.
"Australia was a weekend full of lessons, now we go to China ready and excited for another battle..."