Nyck De Vries, Mercedes, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2022

A race win would ‘prove’ Mercedes are back in the fight at the front – Wolff

2022 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by and

Achieving a race victory before the end of the 2022 season would ‘prove’ that Mercedes were back in the fight at the front, says team principal Toto Wolff.

Last season’s constructors’ champions Mercedes have so far failed to win a race in 2022 after struggling for performance with their W13 car compared to rivals Red Bull and Ferrari.

However, the team have gradually inched closer to the teams ahead over the course of the season, with Lewis Hamilton taking eight podium finishes, including two consecutive second places in the last two rounds in the United States and Mexico. Team mate George Russell has also finished on the podium seven times and even claimed pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix prior to the summer break.

Mercedes are currently 40 points behind second-placed Ferrari in the constructors’ championship with two grands prix remaining in the season. Wolff says that having been in contention for the victory in the last two rounds, breaking through and claiming a win would be a major psychological boost to the team.

“The win would be would be proof that our car is back to fight for wins,” Wolff said. “P2 could also be because the others dropped the ball and we’re just scoring more points.

“The thing is, we are racers. At the moment, we can kind of see it in front of us. We just want to grab it and therefore there is always a sense of frustration. We’ve come from such a long way and here we are, racing for a win, we are racing for both cars on the podium, Ferraris are behind us. So you need to stay humble about what we’ve achieved, while still reaching for the stars.”

After Red Bull and Max Verstappen beat them to victory in Mexico by making use of softer tyres than Mercedes opted for, Wolff later accepted that the team had made the wrong call on strategy. Asked after the race if Mexico had presented them with their best chance of winning in 2022, Wolff admitted “n the simulations, it says yes.”

“But we see the tendency,” Wolff continued. “We see that we are able to compete.

“I’m really proud of the team, what we did [last] weekend. We experimented with a lot of things. The engine guys have pushed the boundaries really to give us the maximum performance also. So I think it will be a mix between trying the max [in the final races] whilst trying the most for next year.”

Asked he would prefer a race win and finishing third in the constructors’ championship or not winning a race and beating Ferrari to second place, Wolff simply replied “a win.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2022 F1 season

Browse all 2022 F1 season articles

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

34 comments on “A race win would ‘prove’ Mercedes are back in the fight at the front – Wolff”

  1. petebaldwin (@)
    5th November 2022, 17:15

    I don’t think a win would prove anything. They’re clearly now the 2nd fastest car and several team members played up their Mexico chances because of the high altitude helping them.

    They’re already fighting for wins already but as everyone else knows from the last 7 or 8 years, it’s very difficult to beat the fastest car when it’s piloted by an incredibly fast and consistent driver.

    1. Their car was on par with RBR in Mexico, if not better.
      Lewis lacked a banker lap in q3 and George messed up his final lap. A pole position was possible.

      Seeing the pace differential of Ricciardo on softs vs hards of others, Merc should have tried medium-soft for George. Also should have put the other car on soft-medium. Splitting strategies.

      Missed opportunity again.
      Same as on Silverstone, in Hungary and Zandvoort. There they were in contention too, and while having minor car deficit there, they could have done better in strategy.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        5th November 2022, 20:53

        It’s so bizarre seeing Toto saying “I don’t care about anything other than winning a race” and then when they have a chance, they say “ooohhh but Perez is in 3rd so we have to be really careful not to lose 2nd place to him…”

        If they genuinely only cared about winning and weren’t interested in 2nd or beating Ferrari, their strategy in Mexico would have been very different.

        1. randomnumber (@)
          6th November 2022, 2:49

          They couldn’t let George run long because it risked upsetting Hamilton. It will be very funny when this costs them a championship in a year or two (unless Toto is more aware of his drivers’ limitations than he lets on)

        2. Toto failed to mention one word in his remark about his preference for the rest of the season. He said “a win” where he should have said: “a Lewis win”.
          That´s the reason why they didn´t go for it with George, it would upset Lewis too much.

    2. Brasil is also on a very high altitude (800m) so Mercedes get a much smaller boost (Mexico 2229m) but still much stronger then normal.

  2. You mean from the last 72 years?

  3. I think they already are. They still finished 2nd and 4th in Mexico, after selecting the wrong tire strategy.

  4. Toto spewing the same nonsense as ever, but now on the losing side.

    1. “A race win would ‘prove’ Mercedes are back in the fight at the front”, and the opposing point …. “A lack of a win in the last two races will ‘prove’ that Mercedes are not back at the front”.
      Toto is potentially setting himself and the team up for disappointment. If they win, great, if not ??
      Guess there is always next year.

      1. @NS Biker: “A lack of a win in the last two races will ‘prove’ that Mercedes are not back at the front”.

        That doesn’t actually follow. Failure to prove and disproving are not the same thing. Finding my fingerprints at the crime scene proves I was there. However, the absence of fingerprints doesn’t prove I wasn’t there.

        1. Finding my fingerprints at the crime scene proves I was there. However, the absence of fingerprints doesn’t prove I wasn’t there.

          So….. were you there or not. I’m keen to read a Racefans forum confession.

          1. Well who is too stupid to use the ‘quote’ tool properly… D’oh!

  5. Toto’s overuse of hair dye has clearly addled his brain!

  6. They should had won in Mexico already. If Mercedes keeps messing everything up, Lewis should start thinking about signing with some other team. Maybe comeback to McLaren to finish where he started.

    1. The only other team he may want to go is Ferrari and i think in case of certain circumstances it still can happen.

      1. randomnumber (@)
        6th November 2022, 6:50

        Why would Ferrari want him at this point? He’s currently losing to Russell in points and his mistakes/deficit to Max last year cost Mercedes a championship with the faster car. The emperor’s new car (and the cars he before the hybrid era) expose what he really is — one of the great drivers of his era (alongside Vettel and Alonso) who was fortunate enough to drive for an all time team.

        1. Massive PR boost i presume. His pop star (or rap star if you want) lifestyle is something that fits perfectly with Ferrari’s commercial motto: expensive cars for rich celebrities (or real hustlaz that made it from the bottom to the top). I know it sounds banal but isn’t F1 about advertising and selling more products? And if we talk about driving he still can deliver in various conditions. If i was Ferrari i would drop Leclerc for Hamilton at least for next 3 years, there are many young talents but only one 7 time world champion available.

          1. Drop leclerc??? Why not sainz?

    2. I really dislike the entire Mercedes organization, but I am not sure how you can say they’ve been messing everything up.

      Toto and Mercedes’ main weakness is not having Ross Brawn (+the technical feedback prowess of MSC and NR) to hand them a winning platform on a silver platter. Brawn was a Newey type genius when it came to mastering new designs/regulations and they don’t have anyone working for them with that type of track record.

      1. randomnumber (@)
        6th November 2022, 6:45


    3. Lewis should not push his luck and be extremely glad that he is with Mercedes. Nowhere else would he get such a protected and privileged position nowadays…

  7. Toto is right only if they win on merit which this Mercedes is a long way from. McLaren, Alpine and Alpha Tauri have all won in the past couple of seasons but they aren’t ‘back’.

  8. I also recognize Toto as compulsive perfectionist but that’s not enough to make the car win championships. However, there is strong indication they have to ditch Mike Elliott as TD because he’s not the one. I am 100% sure that Nick Chester, someone on Mercedes’ payroll, would resurrect this team just like he did with Lotus Team. They had a car that was a total mess ( E22 – legacy of James Allison ) and he did miracles with E23, considering the budget they had. That guy really deserves to prove what he’s made of.

  9. The comments on this article show that most people actually live in an counter-factual alternate reality.

    How else could you explain a comment like this one below?

    and his mistakes/deficit to Max last year cost Mercedes a championship with the faster car.

    1. Indeed. Tbh the comment section here is pretty toxic now.

      1. so true which is a shame

    2. because they don’t agree with your view?

      1. The ‘view’ being facts and reality. The comments on all sites have deteriorated over the last eighteen months into partisanship and fanaticism.

    3. What’s wrong? He made mistakes and merc was marginally the fastest car, take a mistake away like baku and he would be champion, and merc won the constructor’s championship.

    4. Which car is the faster is something that is always open to debate, but it is certainly true that Hamilton would have won the WDC if he had not made some mistakes earlier in the season. That doesn’t mean that was the only reason for not reaching the top. People will also point to officiating errors, to engineering failures, pit stop problems, collisions pulling out safety cars at bad times. Singling out driver mistakes might be a little unfair, but for sure you could say if Hamilton hadn’t made those mistakes, he’d have been WDC in spite of all the other issues. This also illustrates a difference in thinking of top sportsmen. When they lose, some blame themselves and say they should have done better so they wouldn’t have been left to the whims of fate, whilst others cannot see their own deficiencies and blame it on the equipment, the referee, the fans, the weather.

  10. Andre Furtado
    6th November 2022, 20:59

    Anyone thinks Ferrari might settle in 3rd place for more wind tunnell time than 2nd place?

    1. Indeed, but I’m worried merc might do that and run away with the 2023 championship: we already know ferrari isn’t a contender, and the wind tunnel difference between 3rd place and red bull would be huge.

Comments are closed.