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Mercedes to take "aggressive" approach to title run-in

NEWS STORY
27/09/2021

Looking at what he expects to be a fight to the finish, Toto Wolff admits that his team will need to take an aggressive approach from here on in.

While the team celebrates Lewis Hamilton's historic win at Sochi, the fact is that Mercedes was hard hit by Max Verstappen's impressive damage limitation exercise on Sunday.

Courtesy of strategic quick-thinking on the pit-wall and a typically brave performance from the Dutchman, the drivers' title is down to 2 points even if Mercedes enjoys a 33 point advantage in the constructors'.

Its strategic ploy in the form of handing Valtteri Bottas a new engine having failed so spectacularly - he recovered to finish fifth but did nothing to impede Verstappen's progress - the only consolation for the German team was Sergio Perez' failure to finish higher up the order also.

With seven races remaining, it is likely that Hamilton will have to take on another engine, thereby incurring his own penalty, and should Red Bull opt to take a leaf out of Mercedes book and issue Perez with a new engine at the same event it is likely the Mexican would make a better job of it than his Finnish rival.

Nonetheless, looking at what he expects to be a fight to the finish, Toto Wolff admits that his team will need to take an aggressive approach from here on in.

"In a way, we're not maximising our points scoring, and the same today," said the Austrian in the moments after Sunday's race.

"Qualifying was all decisive," he continued. "Valtteri going back we knew was difficult, and we ended up with a first and fifth, and that is very good, no doubt about that, and it's Lewis's 100th victory.

"But Max recovered in a spectacular form, and that is not good for the championship," he admitted.

"So, in a nutshell, we just need to continue to be really aggressive in how we approach this season, not be defensive, but just move forward, in order to score these big points. Because neither us nor the others are really good in maximising the points at the moment."

Sochi, like Monza, has proved to be a happy hunting ground for Mercedes in the past, but (15 races into the season) Wolff claims that this year's regulations have changed all that.

"I stopped trying to anticipate whether it's historically a strong race for us," he said, "because everything with the new regulations, everything changes, so has changed so much.

"Definitely, we knew that Monza and Sochi would be coming more towards us, but the reality is we are where we are, and this is the points gap and I doubt that any of the two teams will make massive swings up or down.

"It's just about, really, to continue to do the best possible job."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Stitch431, 29/09/2021 9:01

"They started the aggressive approach already in Silverstone. And having worked on the FIA they got an in-season regulation change on both wings (just the ones of Red Bull but not their own moving front wing), and the pitstop procedure, which is obviously hurting Red Bull. It is time they stop whining and just drive. Let the best driver win, not the best cheater. That is my humble opinion on this."

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2. Posted by kenji, 29/09/2021 1:42

"@Finchy...wrong. Why do you think that Bottas has the tag 'wingman'? Regards Hamilton...wrong. I just have the opinion that he's not as good as his fans and especially the media think. Yes, overall he's good, there's no doubt about that but so are many others and given the same machinery to drive they would've proved it. IMO of course. Sochi was a gift to Hamilton, so live with it. It's not the end of the world and finally, I would relish anyone but Mercedes winning the WC purely because the same old same old holds no allure for me."

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3. Posted by Finchy, 28/09/2021 17:09

"Kenji..... Mercedes have not in any way treated Bottas badly. He has talent of course but hardly Championship material is he? He gets to drive what has been before this year, the fastest car. Where is his Championship? As usual, as you obviously dislike Lewis, you've chosen to negatively comment. "

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4. Posted by Kkiirmki, 28/09/2021 5:54

"About time we had a real fight between two manufacturers, been a long time coming."

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5. Posted by kenji, 28/09/2021 1:12

"Mercedes lucked into a 'gift' at Sochi and they know it. It would appear that their 'Bottas block' failed miserably and was, in a way, a Bottas payback to the team which has treated him badly in the past. Too many wingman directives have now resulted in blowback. Hopefully Mercedes can be knocked off their prat perch and we get to see a new WC....the first for far too many years. "

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6. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 27/09/2021 18:54

"Ron Dennis hit the nail on the head in picking VER for this championship.
Everything has to go right for Merc or others fail whereas Red Bull just seem to have to not make mistakes in order for good results.
Game on for sure."

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7. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 27/09/2021 18:10

"Max and the Red Bull are clearly the stronger package, Mercedes are really going to have to fight for this one."

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