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Toto Wolff

Wolff ‘under no illusions’ as Mercedes aim to ‘get in the mix’

Toto Wolff is hoping Mercedes can build on an "encouraging" weekend in Monaco, with further upgrades in Canada. However, he is "under no illusions" that rival teams will also improve.

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Toto Wolff says Mercedes is "under no illusions" that rivals will continue to improve as the team comes into the Canadian Grand Prix off the back of a stronger weekend in Monaco.

The 52-year-old feels that with the F1 pack becoming increasingly tight, the Brackley-based squad must "work hard and diligently" to strengthen its position as it aims to track down Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren ahead.

Following a change in car philosophy over the winter, the German marque came into the current season optimistic of a resurgence, having held off Ferrari for second-place in the 2023 constructors' standings.

However, the new concept has not yet yielded the kind of results the team would have hoped for, with George Russell's two fifth-place finishes its best returns after eight rounds.

Despite that, Mercedes feels the new approach has a higher ceiling than the previous 'zero-pod' design - with Wolff underlying the need to continue closing the gap to those ahead.

"The picture at the front of the field is incredibly competitive," the Mercedes team principal explained ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix. 

"The field has compressed, and we are under no illusions that others will continue to improve. We will have to continue to work hard and diligently to get ourselves into the mix."

Whilst the Monaco Grand Prix produced the same finishing positions for Mercedes as the season-opening round in Bahrain, with Russell and Lewis Hamilton creating a Max Verstappen sandwich in fifth and seventh respectively, there is reason for the team to be hopeful.

Hamilton was consistently quick throughout practice, topping FP1 and finishing FP2 in second. He ended the final practice session third-fastest.

With only team-mate Russell running the updated front wing around the streets of Monte Carlo, the seven-time champion fell back slightly in qualifying, but the one lap pace was promising.

Both drivers will have the new part, as well as further developments, in Montreal - something Wolff anticipates will be more effective than in the previous round.

"We had an encouraging weekend in Monaco," he said. "We continued to make solid progress with our car, improving its overall balance and taking a step closer to those ahead.

"That progress isn't yet showing in terms of positions but if we can continue to close the gap to the fastest cars, we know it will in due course. 

"Both drivers will have the updated front wing in Canada, plus some other development items for this event. It offered a small lap time gain around the tight streets of the Principality and should offer greater benefit on upcoming circuits."

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, join Ian Parkes, Sam Coop and Nick Golding as they look ahead to the Canadian Grand Prix, Red Bull's struggles potentially continuing and the news that Esteban Ocon will leave Alpine at the end of 2024.

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