Psychology

A race win would ‘prove’ that Mercedes is back at the front of the battle

Achieving a race win before the end of the 2022 season would “prove” Mercedes was back at the front of the pack, says team boss Toto Wolff.

Last season’s constructors champions Mercedes have so far failed to win a race in 2022, having struggled with their W13 car to deliver performance against rivals Red Bull and Ferrari.

However, over the course of the season, the team has gradually moved closer to the teams, with Lewis Hamilton taking eight podium finishes, including two consecutive runner-up finishes in the final two rounds in the United States and Mexico. Teammate George Russell has also finished on the podium seven times and even captured pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix before the summer break.

Mercedes is currently 40 points behind second-placed Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship with two Grands Prix remaining in the season. Wolff says it would be a big psychological boost for the team as he was in the fight for the win in the last two rounds, breaking through and claiming a win.

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

“The point is that we are racers. Right now we can kind of see it before us. We just want to get it and that’s why there’s always a sense of frustration. We’ve come such a long way and here we are, racing for a win, racing for both cars on the podium, Ferraris behind us. So you have to remain humble about what we have achieved, while still reaching for the stars.”

After Red Bull and Max Verstappen beat them to victory in Mexico by using softer tires than Mercedes had chosen, Wolff later accepted that the team had made the wrong choice of strategy. Asked after the race whether Mexico had given them the best chance of winning in 2022, Wolff admitted “in the simulations, it says yes.”

“But we see the trend,” Wolff continued. “We see that we can compete.

“I’m really proud of the team, what we’ve done [last] weekend. We have experimented with many things. The bike guys have really pushed the boundaries to give us the maximum performance as well. So I think it will be a mix between trying the max [in the final races] while I try most for next year.”

When asked whether he would rather take a win and finish third in the Constructors’ Championship or not win a race and beat Ferrari to second, Wolff simply replied “a win”.

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