This Saturday has been different from the usual one in race weekends. The British Grand Prix hosted the first test of the so much criticized Sprint Qualifying, and Max Verstappen has been the fastest one.
Mercedes, on its side, is thinking to try some new solutions and it is bringing some updates in Silverstone, to fill the gap between them and Red Bull.
MotorLAT, along with other selected media, attended the first “Post-Sprint Race” press conference with the Silver Arrows’ boss Toto Wolff. The Austrian specified once more his opinion on the Sprint Race Format, race strategies and other interesting topics, such as the reason why they split the strategies and what to expect from their box tomorrow.
The first question was about the reason they went for a split strategy.
“We did the split strategy because we wanted Valtteri to give it a go on soft when he starts third and it’s an option to try to move up a position or two. – he explained, before saying what he thinks about the Sprint Race.
“I think that it’s an entertainment for the crowd. A start is always interesting. – he continues.
The next question dealt on free pit stops, including his opinion on this new format. Does the Mercedes boss think that this could be a good opportunity for teams to try different strategies and know what it works?
“Sometimes racing is different than simulations so I’m not a fan of experimenting. – Toto states - I’m totally against reverse grids, it’s just fake but here everyone starts from the right place, the qualifying was yesterday. That should be called qualifying, not the Sprint Race.”
“There is going to be a Grand Slam with many experiments, and that is good because it provides a real entertainment for the Saturday.- the Austrian points out, - I agree that the Saturday is a bit random but we need to tweak on the formats. We don’t know the fuels, only the teams know. Fundamentally, if you do four races like this, I’m pro.”
Silverstone, you were mega again today. 🙏 We want to hear you again tomorrow. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/YVzf9U0rvF— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) July 17, 2021
As he said that there was some random time during the Grand Prix, Wolff went on and said his opinion on the idea to pack everything in two days.
“I think that the principle of condensing everything in two days is good, - he states – but for the promoters, who want to put on a spectacle, we need a Friday. We’ve seen this with full crowd, that has to be Qualifying on Friday, because it Free Practices are not very interesting for the fans. “
Talking about spectacles and show, tomorrow there is going to be another interesting episode of the fight between Hamilton and Verstappen. MotorLAT asked if, considering that Perez is at the back of the field and Hamilton and Bottas are in P2 and P3, does he think Mercedes can put them in trouble through strategy like they did in Barcelona?
“Good question. Yes. – Wolff replied – I think that we have pace, if Lewis would have kept his position we would have had Mercedes in front. You can split the strategies, you can try overcut, you can go for undercut, starting with different tyres. You can do different things and it certainly could be an advantage.
A warm Silverstone welcome for the Boss. 😎 pic.twitter.com/inwM6FTUvv— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) July 17, 2021
Red Bull looked quicker in the beginning of the weekend but Toto Wolff doesn’t think it can be enough to win a Grand Prix. Not here in Silverstone.
“If they were the keys to win, (go faster in the first part of the weekend), you can. – he explains - Lewis was able to resist in the first laps with DRS and was fast, you have advantage on the straight lines but the performance differs in some places in Silverstone, it is not all made of straight lines like Austria or Baku."