Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2018

Ferrari performance “a major wake-up call” for Mercedes

2018 Canadian Grand Prix

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Ferrari’s Canadian Grand Prix victory must serve as a wake-up call to everyone at Mercedes, says the team’s executive director Toto Wolff.

Sebastian Vettel’s emphatic win at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve left Wolff feeling “the opposite of confident”, he said.

“I think this is, and we’ve had it in the past, a major wake-up call for every single member of the team.

“Everybody needs to assess how to improve performance in order to optimise on those marginal gains because those marginal gains are going to make all the difference.”

Mercedes made a late call not to bring its new power unit to this weekend’s race. It originally said the new engine would appear in Canada but decided to postponed its introduction after discovering a problem during a dyno run.

Wolff said reliability has been a strength of the team but they must improve performance to take the fight to Ferrari.

“I think you need to get the right balance between pushing the development very hard, adding performance to the car and at the same time keeping reliability,” he said.

“This team has been extremely strong in the past at keeping reliability at a high level. That is not the part that worries me.

“It is more that we have seen today a Ferrari that has been the stronger car. Stronger in qualifying, stronger in the race. And at no chance did we have a real chance to fight for the win.”

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Dieter Rencken
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22 comments on “Ferrari performance “a major wake-up call” for Mercedes”

  1. I guess Ham was right in second guessing the team, that said he came to what is generally a boring victory for him but watched Bottas beat him.

    1. The Dolphins
      12th June 2018, 13:55

      Is Hamilton actually signed for next year? Lately he’s not been driving like someone who has the motivation to win. It would been interesting to see how Ricciardo and Bottas would do as teammates.

  2. Mercedes have looked complacent so far, only Bottas showing a championship winning attitude. Hamilton looks like he’s dialling in the performances, qualifying and race both bad. Clearly Wolff’s comment is directed towards him and he looked seriously unimpressed by the end. But the Mercedes team were equally slow and dull strategically in early races, losing what could be costly points through inertia. And as for this race – sloppy at a technical level with the failure to get their engine upgrade in place, and botched in their tyre selection. Maybe they need to lose this year to get some focus back. Or get Ricciardo in for Hamilton next year.

    1. The Dolphins
      12th June 2018, 13:57

      Ah, if only I had read further before commenting above – I agree @david-br, Ricciardo in for Hamilton.

    2. Absolutely. I mean, Hamilton’s only a 4 time word champion, with more pole positions than anyone else, who’s still the only driver to win a race every single season of his F1 career. He’s a full POINT out of the lead for the WDC, and his team is only 17 points ahead of Ferrari in the WCC.

      Get rid of the bum!

      With an overheating engine on it’s last race, he only managed a measly 5th place finish!

      He’s obviously peaked, and should immediately be replaced with someone who has 57 fewer wins and 72 fewer pole positions to his credit!

      The guy has two lousy races, which the team said was pretty much their fault, and you’re ready to throw him out? Did you forget about Spain where he got pole and won the race? It was only three races ago.

  3. If Mercedes had gotten pole, which wasn’t impossible, and kept the lead past the first corner, which was also achievable, I figure they would have more likely than not won the race. So Ferrari was better this weekend, but when it’s so hard to overtake, you just need to get to the lead and you can have pretty good luck from there.

    1. I am almost certain that had Bottas taken pole and led from the start, he would have won easily. Maybe not quite as easily as Vettel did, but easily anyway @chaddy.

      All of them (in the front 6 group) were running clearly below their capacity for most of the race again to make sure they could do a one stopper. Only Hamilton was struggling a bit (with that engine overheating) in the first 3rd of the race. Well and Kimi was just running around, although the team also didn’t seem to care and kept him out long enough to drop behind Hamilton instead of gaining that spot when they could have.

      1. seems that kimi has gotten to a stage where he just doesn’t care and just shows up, in a way i can’t blame him and in a way i can.

      2. Seb is as out longer… What’s your point? After tire change kimi got out of the pit in super laggard mode…. Was behind Hamilton with chances of overtake for at least 3 lap and a gap of 0.8 and never never did anything and later he simply faded into the back..

  4. Harry Enfield plus Paul.
    11th June 2018, 0:36

    James Allison effect starting to kick into Merc. Lol.

  5. Even if an old engine, seven races old, on a track where power is so important, they were less than a tenth behind Ferrari (that had an upgraded PU). So i don’t know. This season will have many more ups and downs.

    1. *Even with

    2. @edmarques, I agree, possibly delaying the upgrade was a long term tactical decision to avoid grid penalties later in the year.

      1. @hohum No, they would otherwise have used this engine in Hungary ad the new engine on this power sensitive track.

    3. I may be wrong, but I think the importance of old vs new engine is hyped. Like 2 races ago RAI had a new engine, he still got trashed by Mercedes and beaten by VET. There’s no real proof that even a new new-spec Mercedes engine would turned things around, let alone a new old-spec engine.

      1. @mg1982
        I agree, on austrian TV Christian Klien said a new engine is worth a couple of hundreds to a tenth at maximum. The difference is bigger in the race, because you can’t run the powerful engine maps as often as you can with a new unit.

    4. Agreed @edmarques. Mercedes surely had expected it would be tight – that was why they had planned to bring that new engine to this race.

      They have said things like this since the first race. But Bottas seemed not to need that wake up call, he has been driving pretty good so far this year – With only a few less things happening he could have won both China and Baku, and here he would have won but for a tenth from pole. Doesn’t seem to be complacent at all!

  6. Harry Enfield plus Paul.
    11th June 2018, 0:53

    Ferrari have no big names. They are basically saying to Allison and Newey you don’t have a monopoly. Killers move in silence.

  7. Merc should rehire Rosberg as development driver. Merc development is on stall in the last two years.

  8. I think Toto Wolff is crying err wolf, or if he is sincere he is overreacting. Let’s not forget Ferrari had a new AND improved engine. Still Bottas who is the slower Mercedes driver, esp. in tracks that benefits aggressive braking style of Hamilton, was able to keep up with Vettel until he ran off and then had to save fuel.

    On the other hand, Kini on much fresher rubbers wasn’t able to keep up worh Hami

    1. I think Vettel was coasting… He was doing high 14s and immediately after bottas screwed up he started doing high and mids 13s and disappeared again

      1. Probably true. But as someone else mention above. If Bottas had taken pole I could imagine he could hold off Vettel.

        So while no one should get complacent and all teams should improve, I think Toto’s cry for “consequences” is over the top.

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