Toto Wolff warns Lewis Hamilton of more ‘setbacks’

Mercedes have improved their pace at every round so far this season, after falling to fourth in the pecking order at the season-opener.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was left encouraged by the team’s performance at the recent Australian Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton secured the Silver Arrows’ first podium of the 2023 F1 season.

2023 has certainly started challengingly for Mercedes, with the Germans having slipped to fourth in the pecking order at the season-opener in Bahrain.

Whilst there was obvious disappointment amongst the Brackley-based team following the first race of the year, they have already demonstrated steady progress, with the W14 having improved in Saudi Arabia and even more so in Australia.

In Saudi Arabia, Mercedes had the third best package on the grid, whilst in Australia they were second best to Red Bull.

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The steady improvements will hopefully continue to ramp up once the W14’s new concept is introduced at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with Wolff recognising the importance of the team making “another step” in the right direction.

“Glimpses” of potential were seen at the Albert Park Circuit, though, something which has inserted some belief into the Mercedes camp.

“In Australia…we saw glimpses of performance in our car that encourages us for the next part of the season,” Wolff said.

Despite the recent progress, Wolff is aware that further “setbacks” will be experienced this season; however, the Austrian has also noted that “upgrades” will be introduced, most notably their new concept.

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“In terms of car development,” Wolff said, “it is encouraging to see that within three races, we understand the car much better, we have defined a clear direction where we need to go and I believe we are on the right trajectory.

“We need to consolidate our understanding and hopefully over the next few races we can make another step.

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“It’s also important to keep on track and not oscillate too much between exuberance and depression; to stay rational and believe in our trajectory, believe in the capability of the team.

“There will be setbacks but there will also be upgrades and plenty of work that will help us get closer to the front.”

So, whilst the Silver Arrows are currently third in the Constructors’ Championship, it does seem that Hamilton and George Russell have plenty to be positive about, especially with the duo knowing that a huge step will hopefully be taken in Imola.