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Toto Wolff

Wolff hoping for Mercedes bounce back after 'underwhelming' season opener

The Silver Arrows disappointed on race day in Bahrain but can instantly make amends at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Hamilton Bahrain race
To news overview © XPBimages

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix offers the team a chance to "step forward" from its disappointing opening race of the F1 season.

The Brackley-based outfit had impressed in practice at the Bahrain International Circuit and took third on the grid through George Russell, with Lewis Hamilton sacrificing one-lap pace for a more race-minded set-up.

But cooling issues for the new W15 left both drivers up against it in the race, with Russell unable to hang onto a podium position, eventually finishing fifth despite running in second early on.

"Our race in Bahrain was best described as underwhelming," said Wolff.

"We were hopeful of a stronger showing after our performance in practice and qualifying. Both drivers were pleased with the balance earlier in the weekend, and the more stable platform provided by the W15.

"Unfortunately on Saturday evening, our cooling performance didn't match our predictions. That forced us into management mode early on, which had the knock-on impact of reducing tyre temperatures below optimum.

"That cost us the opportunity to show something closer to our true potential. It was a frustrating way to start the season but one we will learn from."

'Continue our learning'

Mercedes has the chance to make amends instantly at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this weekend.

The Jeddah Corniche Circuit represents a different challenge for F1 cars, with Wolff explaining: "We've got an opportunity to take a step forward immediately.

"Jeddah is a street track with a lot of high-speed content. It will be good to continue our learning with the new car on a very different circuit to Bahrain.

"We will be aiming for a more consistent weekend and to understand our true performance relative to the rest of the grid."

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