Mercedes has warned that Baku is another street circuit that does not cater to the characteristics of its W12, prompting team boss Toto Wolff to encourage the Brackley squad to seize on the opportunities and “grab the points” that may come its way in Azerbaijan.
A blend of underperformance and imprecise execution weighed on the Mercedes team’s results in the previous round in Monaco, with Valtteri Bottas sidelined by a pitstop incident while running second in the race and Lewis Hamilton finishing a lowly seventh onboard a car that persistently struggled with its tyres in the Principality.
But Wolff believes the poor weekend is now water under the bridge, with Mercedes’ crews pumped up to bounce back stronger at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
“Weekends like Monaco are the ones that keep you coming back for more,” said the Austrian as he previewed this week’s round of racing in Baku.
“Nothing comes easy in this sport, and that’s why we love it. We know that if you are not at, or close to, 100% then it will bite you.
“On Monday morning I saw the same energy as when we returned from the Bahrain test and that pleases me.
“We dissected the weekend, asked hard questions of ourselves, and learned some crucial lessons. I wish we could have been back racing last weekend.”
Wolff classifies Baku among the “outlier” tracks in F1 that, on paper, are not favourable to Mercedes, which is all the more reason for the team to extract the most it can from a potentially challenging race weekend.
“Baku is next up,” added Wolff. “While it’s a very different street circuit to Monaco, we expect it to be another tricky one for us, not particularly suiting the characteristics and traits of the W12.
“Red Bull will be strong again, while both Ferrari and McLaren have made great progress recently.
“A key focus for us has to be exploiting the opportunities available to us on those outlier tracks which aren’t suited to our car – when the points are there, we need to grab them.
“There will be swings back and forth in this fight which is exciting for the sport and exciting for us.
“We’re expecting another challenge on the city streets and after the results of the last race, we’re more determined and fired-up than ever to bounce back in Baku.”
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