Toto Wolff has been left frustrated after seeing his Mercedes team miss out on victory despite feeling the race swung in his squad’s favour to a “90% probability” of victory as Valtteri Bottas hunted down Sebastian Vettel.

After Ferrari opted to see Vettel finish the race on his aging soft tyres after his early pit stop, switching from a two-stop strategy to a one-stop, Bottas looked set to reel in the leader using fresher medium tyres which were holding a stronger life expectancy.

Despite the Finn closing in on the Ferrari driver he found no way past and ended up having to settle for second place 0.6s behind with Vettel victorious.

Wolff says he estimated Mercedes’ chances of victory at “90%” with Bottas rapidly closing in on Vettel in the final few laps, at times up to one second faster per lap, but was left irritated by how events unfolded for his team.

“We had won the race already after coming out on the medium behind Sebastian and with a gap we were able to close down,” Wolff said. “We knew they would need to stop once again or they would run out of tyre if we were to push them. This was the moment where I would say probably the 90 percent probability was on us winning and we lost that.

“It’s extremely frustrating. It’s not just one reason, there are many more reasons why we should have won.”

Having seen Ferrari steal victory at the 2018 F1 opener after Mercedes were stalled by a “software bug” which miscalculated the time gap needed for Lewis Hamilton to regain the lead while Vettel pitted under the Virtual Safety Car, Wolff says the German manufacturer has already lost 14 points to Ferrari due to separate issues which he fears could play a pivotal role on the world title fight.

“The points you don’t make are the ones that decide the championship,” he said. “The drivers’ championship, it’s seven points lost for Lewis in Melbourne.

“I don’t think he would have been much better than P3 in Bahrain. It was between Sebastian and Valterri for the race win, Lewis was too far away.

“In the drivers’ championship we lost 7 points, I the constructors’ championship we lost 7 in Melbourne and 7 here so that’s 14 points and that can make a difference at the end.”



Loading Comments...