Toto Wolff comments on W14 upgrades after George Russell shocker

Lewis Hamilton was the only Mercedes driver in the top 10 following the opening day of the Monaco GP.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was pleased with how the team’s new concept performed on its debut at the Monaco Grand Prix on Friday, with it having been one of the biggest talking points of the opening day.

Following the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Mercedes opted to introduce their eagerly awaited new concept on Friday at the Circuit de Monaco, something which raised a few eyebrows.

Many questioned why Mercedes introduced the new concept in Monaco rather than next weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix, with the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya being a much more conventional circuit.

Due to Monaco being so unique, little valuable data can be gathered, given that no other circuit on the calendar is like the Circuit de Monaco.

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The new concept at least appeared to help Lewis Hamilton on Friday though, with the seven-time World Champion having ended Free Practice 1 in third and Free Practice 2 in sixth.

It was by far one of the 38-year-old’s best Fridays of the season, with the driver himself having been very happy with how the new concept performed.

The same can’t be said for George Russell, who appeared to struggle on Friday.

Russell could only manage 15th in FP1, whilst he improved to just P12 in FP2.

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Despite Hamilton’s and Russell’s differing performances, Wolff was happy with how the first day with the new concept went, with the team having so far discovered nothing “negative”.

“It’s a solid base to start from,” Wolff said on Friday.

“I think we need to go away and look at our laps to really understand how our car functions, at least we haven’t found anything negative.”

Wolff went on to explain how the Brackley-based team experimented with two different setups on Friday in an attempt to gain as much data as possible, in an attempt to get up to speed.

Based on Mercedes’ Friday performance, the Silver Arrows don’t look set to be in the fight for pole position, with reigning World Champion Max Verstappen being the driver to beat in Wolff’s eyes.

READ: Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton cause drama at 2023 Monaco GP

“We’ve driven two different setups to allow us to gather more data,” Wolff added.

“It’s going to be super tight among the front runners.

“The only one who stood out was Max (Verstappen) on the long run”