Wolff: Mercedes can't afford to leave more points on the table

Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1
© XPB 

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said that the team can't afford any more disappointing race weekends such as those in Monaco and Montreal.

While Monaco has been a bogey circuit for the Silver Arrows for some time, the team's struggles in Montreal were a real surprise. Lewis Hamilton had won the last three Canadian Grands Prix but slumped to fifth place this time out.

"The weekend in Canada didn't meet our expectations," Wolff confessed. "In the past, Montreal was a track where we were fighting for the win. But this year we lacked the performance on Saturday and Sunday.

"We analysed the weekend and understand why we didn't do better, but that doesn't change the fact that we left points on the table."

Hamilton lost the lead of the drivers championship by a single point. But Mercedes still lead the constructors standings, thanks to Valtteri Bottas taking second place last time out.

But the battle is too close to call, and Wolff is acutely aware that any more misfires for Mercedes in the remaining 14 races of 2018 could cost them a chance to retain their titles.

"This season's battle is intense and we need to be on top of our game every weekend to win races and to fight for this championship," Wolff acknowledged.

"This team has shown in the past that it is capable of overcoming obstacles and we are working hard to overcome this one as well.

"We are facing an exciting challenge this year and we will give it everything."

First up ia the French Grand Prix. The event hasn't been on the F1 calendar for a decade, and hasn't been held at the Circuit Paul Ricard since 1990. That means the teams have very little idea about what will work this weekend - and what won't.

"France should be an interesting race," Wolff agreed. "We don't often get to race on a track where we have little to no historical data.

"It makes preparing for the weekend a bit trickier than usual, but that element of the unknown also adds to the challenge."

The race also marks the start of three weeks of back-to-back races - meaning that if teams find anything wrong they have very little chance to address it before the next race is upon them.

A misstep now could prove costly to any of the leading teams. But it also represents an opportunity for those who are ready.

"The French Grand Prix marks the first race of the triple header, which will test all F1 teams to their limits," Wolff concurred.

"But it also offers the chance to score a lot of points over the course of three weeks - which is precisely what we're setting out to do.

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