Toto Wolff believes that Mercedes have seen some “encouraging” steps from their upgrades at the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix.
Mercedes brought some long-awaited updates to the underperforming W14 car for the Monaco race, having been delayed after the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
The team had always cautioned against expecting big leaps forward in performance, but were content to bring the updates to Monaco in case of an immediate upturn in pace.
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell showed flashes of pace during practice and qualifying, but ultimately they were locked in a battle for the final podium position with Ferrari and Alpine, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso clear of the pack.
Hamilton took P4 after a strong Intermediate strategy call from the team, with Russell following in fifth place.
When asked for his assessment on Mercedes’ place in the pecking order after the Monaco Grand Prix, team boss Wolff believed that the W14 had become ‘less bad’ and showed a step forward compared to their 2022 car.
“It’s so difficult, because we were in the mix with Aston Martin and with Ferrari, I would say,” Wolff told media, including RacingNews365.com.
“On a positive note, maybe encouraging because we have never been really good here. We have been three tenths behind pole [this year], last year it was six tenths.
“The car was ‘awful’ last year and this time around the drivers said it’s ‘not good’. So, there’s a step up in description.
“But we really need to be careful. We’ve got to go to Barcelona and collect more data. It’s a new baseline. I don’t expect us clearing Aston Martin and Ferrari there either.
“It is more about understanding what does this car do now and how do we need to set it up? We’re really good at grinding away once we have decided the development direction and we grind away.
“Even with the old package that wasn’t great – it was terrible at the beginning of the season and we managed to win a race in Interlagos in a very dominant way. So, we’re going to get there.”