Toto Wolff admits he thought Mercedes would dominate McLaren at Silverstone

Lewis Hamilton secured a surprise third place at the 2023 British Grand Prix

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Toto Wolff said he thought Mercedes would fly past McLaren after the safety car at the 2023 British Grand Prix, where Lando Norris held onto second ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton jumped Oscar Piastri in the pit stop phase aided by the safety car timing, and on soft tyres with both McLarens on hards, he looked set to take second place from Norris with George Russell also bearing down on Piastri.

However, that wasn’t the case and Hamilton had to settle for third while Piastri held on for a career-best fourth.

“To be honest, when the safety car was deployed I was pretty sure if not convinced that we will be eating up the McLaren and finish with a P2 and P3 or maybe even challenge at the front,” Wolff told the media. “So you see just how strong the car was.

“We had a go in the first few laps but they both raced very strong with their efficiency and top speed through the high-speed corners and on the straight there was just no way in passing them. So that came as a surprise.”

Lewis Hamilton salutes the crowd after the 2023 British Grand Prix | Mercedes F1 Team

Mercedes maximised results

Despite his hopes for the team against McLaren, Wolff insisted he thought Mercedes had done the best they could at the British GP.

The McLarens looked on course for a comfortable double-podium until the safety car, which backfired on Piastri who’d barely put a foot wrong up until then.

However, compared to the pessimism after qualifying when Mercedes could only manage sixth and seventh, the jump up the grid is still a solid one as they took a major points advantage over Aston Martin and Ferrari.

“Overall I think this result is solid,” Wolff added. “I’m happy for Lewis‘ podium and both drivers drove to the maximum of the car. So P3 and P5 is ok.

“We have the resurgence of McLaren who were not competitive at the beginning of the year, it’s good to see because that means if you’re making the right decisions your car can jump up by a huge amount.

“On the other side I don’t know what happened to Aston Martin and Ferrari made a step backwards.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, and previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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