With George Russell starting second at the F1 2023 Singapore Grand Prix, and Lewis Hamilton fifth, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff feels the team need to be humble given their overall difficult campaign.
Mercedes have struggled with their car over the 2023 F1 season and eventually changed from a ‘zero sidepod’ design which has seemingly brought more performance from the car.
“I would never [say that], after such a season, because we are on the front row to call ourselves the favourites,” Wolff told the press after Qualifying for the 2023 Singapore GP, when asked if Mercedes were favourites for the win at Marina Bay.
“I think we need to be humble about the situation. The result generally comes as a surprise that we are P2 and P5 with another tyre available tomorrow. But fighting for a win is a different story. We will give it everything and go full attack.
“Ferrari are starting to be really sustainable front runners. Pole positions, they ran at the front in Monza for a long time and looked very strong. But we weren’t that far away either.
“Clearly, Singapore was a great track for them last year and they’ve become very strong on two very different tracks Monza and Singapore.”
Strategic tyre choice
George Russell believes Mercedes have a strategic advantage given they have one extra set of new medium tyres compared to Ferrari, and Wolff outlined why they made such a decision.
“The decision was taken by our strategy team,” Wolff said. “[It was] bold, to try and save a soft in qualifying but finally we made it work.
“If it’s not a clear one-stop then we have a second option to play. It’s a great tyre for a Safety Car, for a red flag, so it gives us much more options than when you only have used softs in your arsenal.”