Russia 2018 - GP Preview - Mercedes
“We showed an excellent performance in Singapore and the victory was a fantastic reward for all the hard work that had gone into it. But it also reinforced another point: there are no easy wins this season. We have to fight hard for every bit of performance in order to have a chance to fight for victories.
“This fight will continue in Russia. The Sochi Autodrom features some interesting characteristics, particularly the long straight into Turn 2 which will make the race start very challenging. With the race being held in late September, we’re going back to weather conditions that will be similar to those of 2014 and 2015, when the Russian Grand Prix took place in early October. We don’t have any data from the current regulation cars in those conditions in Sochi, so this adds another challenge to the race.
“We have a good track record in Sochi but we know that Ferrari and Red Bull will give it everything to break our winning streak, so we must fight as hard as ever to make sure we bring home as many points as possible.”
Three questions for Toto
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport lead the Constructors’ Championship by 37 points, Lewis leads by 40 points in the Drivers’ standing. How does this change the approach for the rest of the season?
“It’s obviously better to have a lead than to not have it, but there are six races remaining and plenty of points to score, so it doesn’t give us any comfort. We will continue to concentrate on every single session, trying to optimise the car in every possible area – and we will go for the race win. There is no naïve optimism about our situation within the team: our mind-set is very positive, we are energised, the factories are buzzing and we’re excited for the fight that we will certainly have in the next six races.”
What are the chances of seeing Esteban and George in a Formula One cockpit next year?
“There are many good drivers who merit a drive in Formula One, both young ones and more experienced ones, but at the moment cockpits are a limited commodity. Both Esteban and George certainly deserve to be in Formula One; we are still working on options and will carefully decide what’s best for them. If that means having to play the long game, then we will continue to prepare and develop them.”
Valtteri currently holds P4 with only a very slim chance of fighting for the Drivers’ Championship. What does that mean for a driver?
“For every racing driver, that’s a very difficult situation to be in because everything you dream about and everything you work for is winning the World Championship. When you realise you’re not in the hunt any more, that’s very difficult to handle. But Valtteri has shown that he has the speed, the talent and the work ethic to win in a Mercedes. He has always been a team player and that is one of his greatest character traits. Valtteri could have won races this year, but the odds were against him. However luck isn’t just a one-way street; and I know that Valtteri has every ingredient it needs to win at this level. He just needs to keep working hard to improve and trust that the tables will turn for him.”