After dominating Friday practice and the opening two segments of qualifying, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas could only qualify fourth and seventh respectively.

Things started to go wrong when Hamilton crashed on the entry to the pit lane with over four minutes of Q3 remaining.

As Hamilton’s Mercedes was damaged, Bottas was forced to sit and wait behind his teammate for over 40 seconds until the team could fit slick tyres, before it could repair the seven-time champion's car.

Reflecting on Mercedes’ qualifying in Sochi, Wolff told Sky Sports F1: “You know there are these situations where they are really unfortunate. 

“It’s not even that we made a mistake or the driver’s contributed to it, we were the first cars out in the session and that’s why we were in a sequence where either we would have aborted our last two runs on the intermediate to get two soft runs in or like we played it safe, finished the lap, which we did and at the end, even without Lewis’ kiss on the wall we wouldn’t have been able to do two laps.”

Wolff says Mercedes was simply “unlucky” in qualifying.

“I think today was no mistake,” Wolff added. “If you let me turn back what we would change is maybe not go out first on the track but go out a minute later. But knowing this would have these consequences at the end, is a crystal ball reading.

“So, at the end of the day, it was unlucky, it cost us P1 and P2 on the grid and now we need to turn it around tomorrow. These things sometimes go against you.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s race, Wolff is eyeing a win for Hamilton and a podium finish for Bottas given Mercedes’ performance advantage over the rest of the field.

“I think with Lewis we can win it and this should be the aim if everything goes well, and Valtteri, when he starts seventh there are other considerations we have at the moment,” he explained. “If he starts seventh, easily back on the podium that must be the target.”