Toto Wolff for the Japanese doctor: “It will be very difficult” / Formula 1

Toto Wolff for the Japanese doctor: “It will be very difficult” / Formula 1

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was not satisfied with the qualifying results at Suzuka, but he also had positive things to report. The Viennese does not expect an easy game for his followers in the race.

In practice on Friday, Lewis Hamilton enthused: “This car has never felt as good as it did in the first training session.” So there were high hopes of creating a good starting position for the fourth doctor of the year in qualifying. But in the end he had to settle for seventh place. His teammate George Russell even ended up in ninth place.

Toto Wolff could not be satisfied with that. The boss of the Mercedes team explained to his colleagues from “Sky”: “The 7th and 9th places are not very interesting.” At the same time, he also said: “If you can see something positive there, it’s the fact that this route was probably one of the worst for us last year.”

“And we are only a tenth of a second from a solid position at the front. So we will take that with us. Of course, the result itself is amazing, and things will be very difficult in the race. But I still see the tendency that what we tried here worked,” added the Austrian.

“I think our car was not bad this time. We tried something completely new that brought us closer to the top, almost half than last year. We are also closer to McLaren, which is positive. But you can always count well. A tenth and you are on second row of the grid. I don’t know if that’s enough. In any case, it wasn’t a happy result overall, but I also see something positive in the performance.

And what does Wolff expect from the race? “I think unfortunately we are where we are now in the race. You can see that there are not big gaps between the teams, but Ferrari had the longest race, so I expect Leclerc to move forward a bit. McLaren and Alonso, on the other hand, were not strong in racing. But overtaking will be difficult, so everything will happen in the pack,” predicted the 52-year-old.

Qualification, Japan

01. Max Verstappen (NL), Red Bull Racing, 1:28,197 minutes
02. Sergio Pérez (MEX), Red Bull Racing, 1:28.263
03. Lando Norris (GB), McLaren, 1:28.489
04. Carlos Sainz (E), Ferrari, 1:28.682
05. Fernando Alonso (E), Aston Martin, 1:28.686
06. Oscar Piastri (AUS), McLaren, 1:28.760
07. Lewis Hamilton (GB), Mercedes, 1:28,766
08. Charles Leclerc (MC), Ferrari, 1:28,786
09. George Russell (GB), Mercedes, 1:29,008
10. Yuki Tsunoda (J), Racing Bulls, 1:29,413
11. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS), Racing Bull, 1:39.472
12. Nico Hülkenberg (D), Haas, 1:29.494
13. Valtteri Bottas (FIN), Sauber, 1:29.593
14. Alex Albon (T), Williams, 1:29,714
15. Esteban Ocon (F), Alpine, 1:29,816
16. Lance Stroll (CDN), Aston Martin, 1:30,024
17. Pierre Gasly (F), Alpine, 1:30,119
18. Kevin Magnussen (DK), Haas, 1:30.131
19. Logan Sargeant (USA), Williams, 1:30,139
20. Guanyu Zhou (RCH), Sauber, 1:30,143