Wolff compares Red Bull rivalry to fight against Ferrari when Mercedes was pushed ‘almost to breaking point’
Toto Wolff compared this year’s championship battle with Red Bull to Mercedes’ rivalry with Ferrari in 2018 and 2019 – when the intensity of the fight saw his team pushed “almost to the breaking point”.
Although Mercedes have an unbroken record of championship success dating back to 2014, Ferrari established themselves in 2018 and 2019 as their biggest challengers, and after 10 rounds of the 2018 season, Scuderia led the Silver Arrows by 20 points in the constructors’ championship, while Sebastian Vettel was eight points ahead of Lewis Hamilton among the drivers.
Mercedes and Hamilton would revise their rivals in the second half of the season, while in 2019 Ferrari again had a fast car, with new recruit Charles Leclerc in the lead, before the Mercedes-Hamilton combination failed. wins again.
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And when assessing Mercedes’ season ahead of the summer break, Wolff said Red Bull’s current challenge – the Silver Arrows are just 12 points ahead after the Hungarian Grand Prix – is a reminder of that Ferrari rivalry. , and explained how it impacted his team. .
“The last few months have been very intense,” he said. “We had a good period early in the spring – we were able to compete strongly in Portimao and Barcelona and then we had some really bad races, starting with Monaco and then Baku. [races which began a run of five straight wins for Red Bull].
“But since then we’ve kind of found our grip, we’ve learned, we’ve found out how our car handles with the new tires and I think we’ve come back to a much better place at Silverstone and Hungary.
“This season is very intense, but also 2018 and especially ’19 – when we were fighting Ferrari – it was sometimes very difficult. We were really pushing the limits and that also means pushing each other almost to the point of break to win the championship.
Mercedes may currently be at the top of the manufacturers’ standings, but Wolff insists they are still chasing Red Bull in terms of the car’s raw performance – and despite the stress and strain of the job, he says his team must take advantage of the second half of the season.
READ MORE: Shovlin shocked by Mercedes pace – and Red Bull’s gap to Silver Arrows – at Hungarian GP
“Hopes are one thing, expectations are another and reality can also be different,” he said.
“I think we are the hunter, we approach this with pleasure – there is nothing for us to lose because we have a deficit compared to our competition, so we have to win and continue the journey with great anticipation, profit every race weekend and try to do the best job possible, and hopefully that will be enough to really compete for the championship until the very end of the season.
The battle resumed at the end of August with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.