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Wolff explains Mercedes' sudden jump in performance

Toto Wolff says Mercedes' car came alive during qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix, as his team got the better of Red Bull.

Bottas Mexico
To news overview © Mercedes

Toto Wolff has expressed his satisfaction at Mercedes turning the tables on Red Bull during qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix, after trailing their championship rivals by a significant margin in practice.

Mercedes topped first practice at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Friday but dropped behind Red Bull as the weekend developed, with half a second between the two teams at the end of FP3.

But the Mercedes came alive in qualifying amid rising temperatures, with Valtteri Bottas storming to pole position ahead of Lewis Hamilton, as Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez got caught out by Yuki Tsunoda's slow-moving AlphaTauri.

"F1 continues to amaze me"

Wolff was delighted with the recovery, with Mercedes looking to rebuild their advantage over Red Bull in the Constructors' standings, which stands at 23 points.

"This sport continues to amaze me," Wolff told Sky Sports F1 after qualifying.

"You can see that it can change so quickly from one session to the other. In Austin, we were dominant on Friday and then we lost to performance. Here we were far behind and then suddenly in Q2, we unlocked the potential of the car and it came together."

Wolff also heaped praise on Bottas after the Finn secured his third pole of the season, and second in three races.

"Turkey was unbelievable, and also today the lap," Wolff added.

"Throughout the session, in the garage, they tried to convince him a little bit about some setup changes and he said, 'Nope, not changing, not changing, not changing', and then went for the lap.

"It's really very enjoyable to see that kind of performance."

Red Bull have the advantage at the start

Wolff admits, however, that Red Bull are likely to have a "little advantage" for the race, given the long run down to the first corner and the effect of a tow.

"I think we were rather thinking what are we doing if we are starting third and fourth? Can that be an advantage? And it is a little advantage," said Wolff.

"But first of all I'm so happy that we have gained a little bit of momentum, and I hope this is going to go until the end of the season like this, the swings. It's good for you guys [the media] also, no?"

Pushed on the importance of momentum in the title fight, Wolff said: "It's a nice thing to have, but you just need to do the proper job, and that means session by session trying to understand and learn about the car.

"You can see, [in] Austin, we had a good direction, and we lost the performance. Here, the opposite was the case and Red Bull didn't seem to really progress through qualifying. Q1 was still good, but then later on not. Why? I don't know and probably they don't know either."

Also interesting:

Video: The secrets of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit

Follow Rudy van Buren as he takes you on a flying lap around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, home of the F1 Mexican Grand Prix.

F1 2021 Mexico City Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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