Wolff insists Imola 'a clear performance gain' for Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. 19.05.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola, Italy, Race Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images
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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says that the team's performance in last week's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix has been a definite step forward for the squad even if the final result wasn't all they had been hoping for.

Lewis Hamilton started from eighth place and finished in sixth, while his team mate George Russell was sixth on the grid but a late second pit stop drop him behind Hamilton - although it did net him a bonus point for fastest lap.

Overall, Wolff felt that the team had taken a small but significant step forward in the race that suggested they were finally dragging themsleves out of their recent performance slump.

"The small step forward we took in Imola was encouraging," Wolff said in the team's pre-Monaco preview.

"The team has worked incredibly hard to bring our recent updates to the track, and it was a clear performance gain.

"That being said, others have improved too," Wolff admitted. "We are still a step behind the front three teams therefore, and there is plenty of work still to do.

"Nevertheless, we have a clear direction and developments in the pipeline. We have a more solid platform to build on now and we are confident that, in time, we can get ourselves into the pack ahead."

The team has had little time to learn lessons from imola, with a rapid turnaround before this weekend's visit to Monaco, one of the most celebrated of F1 circuits on the calendar.


"That work continues this weekend in Monaco," Wolff agreed. "It is a unique circuit and a fantastic challenge for the team and drivers.

"It is always hard to predict expected performance, but we will look to execute a clean weekend and maximise the car we have.

"It is always a special weekend, and we look forward to putting on a good show for the fans, and our partners and guests across our extensive hospitality programme in Monte Carlo."

Hamilton is the most successful driver on the current grid at the Monaco GP with three wins (2008, 2016, and 2019) followed by Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's Max Verstappen with two a piece.

Ayrton Senna took five successive victories at the track between 1989 and 1993, while teams using Mercedes engines (McLaren, Brawn and Mercedes) have won 12 of the last 25 races.

Monaco is one of just four races from F1's inaugural season in 1950 to remain on the modern calendar, and at the same circuits, the others bring the British, Italian and Belgian Grands Prix.

But the history of the Monaco GP far predates Formula 1 with the first race in the principality organised in 1929 by Antony Noghes after whom the final corner of the circuit is named. In all, this will be the 81st running of the Monaco GP.

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