Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the German team just can’t let up if it wants to achieve its defined targets and successfully face the challenge thrown its way by Ferrari.
While Mercedes ultimately defeated the red squad in Russia thanks to a scintillating performance from first-time Grand Prix winner Valtteri Bottas, the team departed Sochi with loads of work on its plate.
“The prevailing feeling is that there is lots of homework to do to come back stronger with a car that can perform on a consistent level every weekend,” Wolff said.
“I have the feeling that we are moving in the right direction but we need 24/7 shifts to achieve our ultimate targets.”
Indeed, Mercedes has made progress in how it understands tyre usage and degradation, something that appeared as the W08’s weak point in Bahrain.
“Ferrari is still ahead,” said a Mercedes engineer in Russia.
“But we are good at understanding problems and drawing conclusions. However it could take some races before we get fully on top of it, because some of the problems are probably due to the car.”
On the driver front, Bottas heads to Spain full of confidence but Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda is tipping Lewis Hamilton to bounce back after a fairly low-profile performance at Sochi.
“Bottas was quicker because he won the race but Lewis is an outstanding talent, a world champion,” said the F1 legend.
“Bottas beat him but perhaps the next three times maybe Lewis will do that.”
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