Mercedes: Ending year as F1’s "first loser" not the target

Mercedes says that overhauling Ferrari to finish an unlikely second in the Formula 1 world championship this year matters less than getting back to winning ways later this season.

Mercedes: Ending year as F1’s "first loser" not the target
Listen to this article

The German car manufacturer appears to have turned the corner on its early campaign troubles as it bagged a second double podium finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

George Russell came home third, having started from pole position, while Lewis Hamilton recovered from a DRS failure in qualifying to take his second successive second place finish.

With Ferrari enduring another torrid afternoon, as title contender Charles Leclerc slumped to sixth and Carlos Sainz finished fourth, Mercedes has closed to within 30 points of its Italian rivals in the constructors’ championship.

Based on its current trajectory, Mercedes has a good chance to overhaul Ferrari and finish behind Red Bull this season – but team boss Toto Wolff says that such a feat is not of that much interest.

Instead, he says that of much more importance to him is the ability for Mercedes to take another performance step and start delivering race wins on pure pace.

“Second, first loser,” he said, when asked about the chances of now beating Ferrari this season.

“I think that for me personally, whether second or third in the constructors' world championship is not so relevant compared to really racing and being at the front and developing the car so we can win races on merit.

“Beat the Ferraris, beat the Red Bull and prepare for next year rather than really care about the championship position.”

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, 3rd position, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG2n congratulate each other in Parc Ferme

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, 3rd position, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG2n congratulate each other in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Hamilton’s runner-up position at the Hungaroring means that he has now finished on the podium more times than early championship favourite Leclerc – showing the level of progress that Mercedes has made.

But Wolff, again, says that being among the frontrunners is not something that his team wants – it is about being in front.

“I would have rather had more wins and less podiums,” he said. “We are humbled, but we are striving for race victories rather than second and third. But if they are on merit like today, then it's a good step forward.”

Read Also:

Wolff reckoned that beyond the Hungary result, the amount of understanding it has taken away from its up and down weekend will be hugely helpful in pushing it forward over the second half of the campaign.

“I think it was a difficult weekend overall, because the suffering of Friday was just big when we didn't really know which direction to look at,” he added.

“Maybe getting it so wrong on Friday was helpful in getting it very right, almost completely right, on Sunday.

“I think we have a lot of data to look at, a lot of positiveness from the last weekend in France and here, and that we can build on for the second half of the season.”

shares
comments

Related video

Brain damage risks shows FIA must act on F1 porpoising, says Wolff
Previous article

Brain damage risks shows FIA must act on F1 porpoising, says Wolff

Next article

Horner: "Not one ounce" of me wishes Ferrari was putting up better F1 fight

Horner: "Not one ounce" of me wishes Ferrari was putting up better F1 fight
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Prime

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Prime

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Prime

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Prime

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains Ben Edwards, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car.

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Prime

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Prime

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

Stuart Codling charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Prime

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded Maurce Hamilton of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Prime

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination.

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022