At the wake of the Styrian GP, Mercedes seems to be fighting a fierce battle with Red Bull on their rivals’ home race track. Bottas got three-place grid drop during FP2 and Lewis Hamilton lost the pole to Max Verstappen.
Toto Wolff talked about the Silver Arrows current situation during the post-qualifying press conference with some media, MotorLAT included. In this occasion, the Silver Arrows team principal talked about different topics, from their rivalry with Red Bull to their power unit and the tyre change between the Austrian races.
When asked on how it feels to have such a strong rivalry with Red Bull, he replied:
“It is good to have rivals, we are giving our best to beat them. Red Bull is doing such a great job. Obviously they have a faster set on their car but we have to exploit every little aspect and develop every aspect”, he replied.
A question that could not be helped was what happened to Valtteri Bottas, who has been penalised with a three-place grid drop during the second free practice session and he will start the race only fifth, behind Sergio Perez’s Red Bull, Lando Norris’s McLaren, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
On the sIeek side, I think that Valtteri stopped at the pit lane but then he had this “walking speed” like it happened yesterday. still can have somebody race in the end. Valtteri, he was very honest with his explanation. Another one would have come out and said “I don’t know what happened” , but he said : “I tried to optimize my start”.
MotorLAT asked how will the tyre change between the two races that will take place at the Red Bull Ring and Pirelli’s new construction rear tyre which will be tried in practices affect their weekend plans.
💬 "It’s going to be an exciting afternoon of tough racing – and the weather might play a part, too. I’m looking forward to it!" - Toto #StyrianGP— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) June 26, 2021
“Well it will affects us a lot - the Mercedes team principal explains - because we only have certain minutes of sessions and now you’ve got to test another tyre but as long as it’s the same for everybody we can cope with that kind of challenge andwe can then learn what you can take from this tyre, and that’s fine.”
Another question Toto had to answer was again on Red Bull. He was asked how he deals with Red Bull’s words on their power unit. A few days ago, Christian Horner said he was surprised by Mercedes’ power unit. Red Bull was indeed quite impressed at how the Brackley-based team’s engine can be so fast on the straight-line.
“All the engines are homologated, - Wolff shrugs - I don’t really know what Red Bull is worrying about.”
In the end, even if this may certainly be stressfull for both teams, a new rivalry for Mercedes, after seven years of hegemony, is, quoting Toto Wolff some races ago: “Just what the doctor ordered.”