Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team manager, praised the work done in Mercedes factories as “fantastic” after Lewis hamilton defied the odds of qualifying second for the Azerbaijani Grand Prix.
The team has been lost all weekend so far and the furthest pace in recent years, but somehow the world champion will line up from second. Valtteri Bottas failed to approach Hamilton and will start tenth, because four red flags cause chaos during qualifying.
The racing pace of the teams seems to be much closer to the front than their lap pace, which means that everything is to be decided in the race. Wolff pointed out how the factory has done an amazing job and that the team has a chance tomorrow.
“The work that has been done at Brackley and Brixworth, and from the engineers here, is fantastic – they have designed an amazing program that we have followed line by line. We did a series of experiments – some were useful, some were not, but we were able to get our questions answered and then produce a car that was good.
“Yesterday our long runs looked good and we were on a similar pace to the Red Bulls so I think we have a good chance of getting a good result tomorrow.”
“Anything can happen” – Shovlin
Andrew Shovlin, Technical Director of Mercedes Trackside Engineering is amazed that the team has a front row car, on a circuit where unpredictability tends to be the theme of racing, with many safety cars a real possibility.
“We didn’t really expect to have a car in the front row before the session, but Lewis made the most of what he had and managed to put in some pretty impressive laps throughout the session. He had managed to get a better feel for the front of the morning session and was able to build on that in qualifying which was encouraging.
“Valtteri had a tough weekend from the start. We have to look at his car to try to figure out where the problem is because he just doesn’t have the grip Lewis had no matter where we put the settings.
“The race should be interesting tomorrow; we had a reasonable long run on Friday and the race is as much about pace and degradation as it is about position on the track. It’s also a place where anything can happen with a high probability of safety cars and red flags, but hopefully we can move forward with both drivers.