Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

Mercedes’ bad luck turned good in Sochi – Wolff

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In the round-up: Mercedes team principal Toto wolff says the team’s recent poor fortune was reversed by the Virtual Safety Car in Sochi.

What they say

Wolff was asked whether Ferrari’s recent resurgence was down to them performing better or Mercedes experiencing difficulties:

I think the truth is somewhere in the middle.

I think they have made, and continued to make, big steps in straight-line performance. They have had a good car in Singapore, they had a very good car in Sochi and if you put these dots together you are setting the benchmark. And this is what they did these last two weekends.

In the same time we haven’t brought upgrades since a long time onto the car and haven’t probably managed the things as optimal as we can manage.

But also we’ve been a bit unlucky with our calls. In the last few races we could have won some of these races and we didn’t and all that bad luck turned into good luck [in Sochi].

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Quite a lot of you have argued against the qualifying races trial, but Urvaksh made a case for it:

Trying something new harms no one. After all, if you don’t try you don’t know. Give it a go, see what comes of it.

But don’t reject an idea off-hand merely because it goes against a long-standing tradition. There is no such thing as a bad idea until it has been tried and tested and proven so.
Urvaksh (@Thedoctor03)

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 34 comments on “Mercedes’ bad luck turned good in Sochi – Wolff”

    1. Q races are going to be a success, but like drs, artificial.
      Mercedes weren’t unlucky, they’ve had to manage their reliability and made some calls that cost them places, not wins.

      1. you could also argue they were fortunate in hungary that gasly and the ferraris were so slow that hamilton could run an opposing strategy to verstappen. i wonder if they are focusing their energies on next year’s car. ferrari’s focus on the engine makes sense because obviously that is transferrable to next year, but they may have wasted some resource in making this year’s car work at the expense on next year. having said that it probably makes less of a difference to a team as massive as ferrari.

      2. I think Wolf made a key point – Mercedes hasn’t upgraded in a while.

        Not only are they driving to preserve their engines, they are also not taking grid penalties for having upgraded their engines. Unlike Ferrari who seems to be literally ‘driving for broke’, Mercedes are managing their units, and saving money.

        When people criticise Bottas for driving too conservatively, they need realise he and Lewis are also doing a superb job of managing their engines.

    2. Ju ping off a cliff will severely injure or kill you. You don’t need to jump off a cliff to know this is true.

      Your comment of the day is illogical. On that basis any daft idea should be tried to see if it works despite six decades of motor racing experience telling us it won’t make the racing any better.

      1. Yeah, qualifying races are like jumping off a cliff. Most of us recognize right away it is a bad idea. Then somebody says, ” but what if you have a parachute, or a wingsuit, or are diving in the ocean?”
        We think for a second and conclude it is still a bad idea.

        1. We shouldn’t heed the words of the wise Chinese philosopher Ju Ping: “falling off a mountain will not hurt you, though the valley might unless it’s covered with softness.”

          When I studY his words I recognise the falling off the mountain as quali races, and the valley as the fans, who might be more or less welcome to the idea.

          1. Nullapax rocks back and forth in a trance like state as he heeds the the wise words of Master @coldfly

      2. If that’s the attitude we’d adopted since the start of civilisation we’d be nowhere. Most inventions that got us to where we are today started off as “bad ideas”. Thank goodness the Wright Brothers didn’t adopt your logic or else we’d be pulling wheel carts till date. @slotopen and Witan.

        1. what? who thought flying was a bad idea?

      3. There’s a belief that falling doesn’t hurt you, but the landing will. I suspect there’s a lot of truth in that. While I admit I accept the current Qualifying format is probably as good as we’re going to get, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t consider improving it.

    3. It’s sad to see traditional media brands like Autosport in print failing. That said, the traditional media are in the midst of the digital revolution and how they manage it will determine if they succeed or fail. I for one stopped visiting the Autosport articles linked in the roundup a few years ago when they made it clear that they did not want me on their site unless I took out an annual subscription, the “news” in those articles was never exclusive to them and of course neither the printed magazine nor many of the series covered were accessible easily in my part of the world, so I just went elsewhere.

      1. Same thing with me. At one point I used to read the autosport news daily and was even a subscriber at one point. But most of the articles were the kind of common stuff you find everywhere. When they started telling me to go away or pay I simply left. Maybe they think allowing people to read their general news articles for free is losing them money but how on earth are they going to convert visitors into subscribers if people can only read 15 articles per month? Paywalls like they have achieve only one thing. Keep visitors and potential customers out.

        1. @socksolid

          I was a subscriber too until about 18 months ago, when my credit card expired, and I never bothered to update my details. The standard of their articles have really downhill.

          1. Have to agree. I don’t think the current standard of journalism on there is worthy of payment. I can get for virtually free updates and vids from F1, Racefans, Palmer, Saward, Priestley, Mercedes, Buxton, Windsor, etc.

        2. I might have become a subscriber to get access to their articles @socksolid. But since the quality of those free articles has more often been meh than not, I’m hardly inclined to pay up. Off course now i haven’t been to the site in probably a year, and it seems many others did the same.

          Shame to see a once huge name go down the drain this way.

      2. :) Hard to upkeep a magazine. Be it print or online, so much overhead they were forced to a subscription model.

        I used to have such subscriptions for all kinds of stuff. Autosport, daily news in my country, etc. But now free media has so much quality, youtube, racefans.net all have me covered in a satisfactory way.

        Meanwhile autosport I visit less and less. Not like its a bad page, I just don’t find myself there.

      3. That’s happened to many “old money” corporations in this digital revolution. Their websites see a lot of traffic, someone has the bright idea “we have to monetize all these eyballs”, and instead of embracing the new and enticing even more traffic the “well, they’ll have to pay for it then” sentence comes up from the board room, and the site/service/publication/whatever puts up a paywall, eventually the traffic dies down and that leads down a slow road to death

    4. Has anyone else noticed that there is a typhoon heading for japan with possible landfall late Saturday or early Sunday which would mean crazy high winds and tons of rain too.
      So …. wonder if they learned anything from the past. I sure hope so.

      1. I vividly recall the extensive discussions before the 2014 race.

        But I don’t think common sense will prevail this time over commercial interests.

    5. I really don’t get how Mercedes has had “bad luck”

      1. @mashiat Maybe you didn’t read the article? As they explain it, they have had plenty of bad “luck” in strategy calls.

        Like in Monaco (they put Hamilton on tyres that last 50 laps for a 66 lap stint), Austria (just a mess in general), Germany (they put Hamilton on slick tyres just as it starts pouring!), Singapore (if they had stopped Hamilton together with Vettel and Verstappen, Hamilton would have won the race)

        Hindsight is nice, but for obvious reasons they didn’t have that when they made those calls.

    6. The “success” of Canada 2010, left us with 6 years of designed to degrade tyres.

      Go try something else… Qualy races are a bad idea, period.

    7. GtisBetter (@passingisoverrated)
      8th October 2019, 5:40

      But a race is not new. The new part is that you take the results and use it for qualifying. For me there are 2 parts to racing. Hot lap and the race itself. A driver having to drive one lap under huge pressure to get the best spot is a great skill that some of the best drivers master. And it’s a joy to watch. And the other skill is racing of course.

      We already have more races then I care for. With even more races next year I just skip the boring ones and if qualy is going to be a race, I doubt I can bother to watch those. Though a saturday race might be a good indication if i should watch sunday at all, which might safe me time in the long run.

    8. Ok I am going to go and celebrate my first COTD with a beer! 🍻 thanks @keithcollantine

    9. Mercedes and ‘bad luck’ in the same sentence?

      You must be having a laugh…

      1. When was the last time Mercedes had ‘bad luck’?
        Monza was clearly a poor call and not bad luck.
        The last time was probably Malaysia 2016.

        1. @coldfly Austria 2018? With the retirements I mean, not their questionable VSC call.

      2. I think they mean Mercedes having luck in Sochi.

      3. That’s exactly what I thought…

      4. @ho3n3r @coldfly

        But also we’ve been a bit unlucky with our calls. In the last few races we could have won some of these races and we didn’t and all that bad luck turned into good luck

        Mercedes have had a lot of “unlucky” strategy calls this season. I explained some above.

        In general Hamilton goes a long way into overcoming those bad calls (Monaco, Hungary), but he can’t fix everything and they had unlucky calls that cost them several race wins (Germany, Singapore)

    10. While the COTD has a point, I’m still not in favor of this proposed format for three GP-weekends.

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