Hamilton on the podium: Wolff wants to invest in asphalt
“It’s only my second podium this season and it’s such a difficult year. Of course it’s something different than a win, but it feels almost as good,” beams Hamilton and is happy: “The last time I had fourth place , now a third. Finally there’s some consistency coming in.”
But where does Mercedes’ pace come from in Canada? “We weren’t anywhere on Friday and the gap was still too big yesterday in the wet. But there were bright spots again today in the race,” explains Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff: “In the second stint and towards the end of the race we were just as fast as the leaders . It was a respectable pace. But of course one swallow doesn’t make a summer.”
The Austrian explains his reluctance by saying that after the performance increase at the Spanish GP, Mercedes crashed again badly. “You have to manage your own expectations: We let ourselves be tempted back then and thought that we had caught up. But the next three races really went haywire,” admits the Viennese.
In the meantime, the Mercedes boss classifies Barcelona completely differently – also with the help of the latest findings from Montreal: “We now understand that the smooth surface gave us an advantage there. You could also see it here: the hairpin is newly asphalted and there we suffered less from the stiffness of the car, which is our main problem.”
Wolff therefore jokes: “We will now change our business model and specialize in asphalting: We buy a few machines, go to older routes and offer them new surfaces. That would be money well invested for us.”
In fact, Mercedes made a small breakthrough in Canada with the W13: “We simply have to develop the car in a different direction than the one we had taken,” Wolff indicates a rethinking of the vehicle concept. “We had the car very low to the ground, but that just doesn’t work,” he says, referring to Red Bull: “If you compare the height of the cars and then look at the stopwatch, you know which way to go. ”
The team of the current design engineers’ world champion was misled by their own wind tunnel. Wolff: “He told us: The lower the car and the faster you drive it, the more ground effect you have. But in reality you can’t drive the car like that, so you have to lift it. But then you lose half a second .” In Canada, these losses were still accepted. “We already raised the car yesterday,” reveals Wolff.
With success: George Russell is fourth, Hamilton races onto the podium. The team boss is particularly happy for the record world champion: “I’m very happy for him. Before that, he rarely had the luck of the capable. Such small individual successes as today give hope that things will move forward.”
A motivation boost at the right time for Hamilton, especially as the next Grand Prix is the Briton’s home race. “Overall, Silverstone was always a good track for us,” hopes Wolff, adding: “The asphalt is also much smoother there…”