Lewis Hamilton could not convert yesterday’s P1 in pole position. However, Toto Wolff believes that Mercedes has the pace to put pressure on Max Verstappen.
Right at the start of the Sprint Qualifying, Verstappen overtook Lewis to take the lead of the short race. The result of the event sees Verstappen ahead of the two Mercedes. That means that the Silver Arrows will be able to attack the Dutchman since Sergio Perez finished the race last.
“I think we have pace, if Lewis would have held his position at the beginning I think we would have pretty much had the same race just with a Mercedes in front,” said Wolff.
“That means we are equal in performance, and with two cars right there you can split the strategies. You can go long, you can try overcutting, you can try undercutting by starting on different tires. That is certainly a big advantage.”
Moreover, Toto explained why Mercedes decided to use two different strategies for the Sprint Qualifying, with Lewis starting on the mediums and Bottas on the softs.
“I think we split the strategies because we wanted Valtteri to give it a go on the softs,” Wolff added.
“When you start third it is an option to have a good few laps at the beginning and maybe move up a position or two. Also, [we got] to see what the soft does in the race.
Wolff also spent some words about the Sprint Qualifying, saying that it was interesting and entertaining. However, he would not like to see this format every weekend.
“[As for the Sprint Qualifying] I think it’s entertaining for the crowds at the track. A start is always interesting and has good content, and obviously [Fernando] Alonso was fun to watch, so I think overall it is a good add-on.
“I don’t see it for every race, I think there is too much randomness. If you see Checo spinning out and then retiring, last is not the place that Sergio Perez should be. It could work against you if you’re one of the front runners, but I think if the next few ones go like this one, I think it has a place in the calendar in a limited form.”