Mercedes managed to get back on the top of the podium in Russia: a fast that lasted since the British Grand Prix and which marked another, important record in the history of the sport, with Lewis Hamilton who conquered his 100th win in F1.
Sochi and Monza were circuits on which the strength of Mercedes was expected, which in any case did not fully impress, despite the victory in Russia. Various factors led to just two rostrum appearances over the past two events, when 1-2s should have been collected.
"I've stopped trying to anticipate whether it's a historically strong race for us or not because with the new regulation everything has changed so much," - said Mercedes Team Principal Wolff - "But definitely we knew that Monza and Sochi would be coming more towards us and the reality is that we are where we are, and I doubt that any of the two teams will make massive swings up or down.
"It's just about, really, to continue to just do the best possible job.
“I think no one can have any comfort in the current situation, because there is just no gap in terms of points, and I think this is going to go very long.”
Bottas at 5, Verstappen at 4, Hamilton at 3. These are the number of components of the Power Unit used so far this season, specifically 5 V6 engines, turbochargers, MGU-H for the Finn from Mercedes, which after the qualifying session in Sochi, was forced to replace some elements, again, after just one race (Monza), with the new engine.
Real technical problems justifying the replacement, Wolff said. And it may not end there, with Lewis Hamilton possibly facing a similar situation in the next races.
Toto Wolff, when asked if he had any regrets for Bottas’ change of PU, explained:
“I think we needed to provide Valtteri a car that would’ve allowed him to overtake, because in Monza was spectacular.
"Here for whatever reason, you saw that Lewis was struggling with the car, with understeer and if you struggle with that you can’t get close enough.
“Lewis couldn’t overtake the guys in front of him and the same happened to Valtteri, so I think we just need to understand now why the car lacks of competitiveness in traffic."
When asked, if the team is planning a further change of Power Unit also for the English driver, before the end of the Championship, Wolff replied:
“I think we haven’t only made a precautional engine change, we also wanted to understand the engine performance and that has given us some question marks, so at the moment we’ll just take one race weekend at a time and then take a decision.”
The Turkish GP in Istanbul will be the next race on the calendar. The circuit lends itself to recoveries on the track, as overtaking is not too difficult. Definitely less, especially in combination with the "historic" performance of Mercedes, the appointment in Mexico. An engine track will also be Interlagos, still with good overtaking opportunities.