Mercedes are now the un­der­dogs, says Wolff

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MONACO: Once-dom­i­nant Mercedes are now the un­der­dogs in the For­mula One ti­tle race, team boss Toto Wolff said af­ter ri­vals Fer­rari took a re­sound­ing onetwo in Monaco on Sun­day.

Se­bas­tian Vet­tel reg­is­tered his third win from six races this sea­son and with Kimi Raikko­nen fin­ish­ing run­ner-up the Ital­ian team cel­e­brated their first one-two since 2010.

The re­sult cat­a­pulted Fer­rari back to the top of the con­struc­tors’ stand­ings and also sent Ger­man Vet­tel 25 points clear of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamil­ton.

“They de­served to win, they had the quick­est car out there,” Wolff told re­porters.

“I like the no­tion of un­der­dog,” added the Aus­trian. “Be­cause the un­der­dog is the one that peo­ple want to see win. As a mat­ter of fact, I think we have been that since the be­gin­ning of the sea­son.

“We have been drop­ping in and out of the tyre win­dow, never had two driv­ers or two cars over the whole course of a week­end within that win­dow.”

Mercedes, win­ners of the last three driv­ers’ and con­struc­tors’ ti­tles and 54 of 64 races be­fore the Monaco week­end, have also won half of this sea­son’s races but with both of their driv­ers tast­ing vic­tory rather than just one.

Hamil­ton won in China and Spain while Valt­teri Bot­tas, who joined from Wil­liams in Jan­uary to re­place 2016 cham­pion Nico Ros­berg, tri­umphed in Rus­sia for his first ca­reer vic­tory.

While Bot­tas en­joyed an ex­cep­tional week­end in Sochi, Hamil­ton strug­gled to get per­for­mance out of the Pirelli tyres and fin­ished fourth.

In Monaco, triple world cham­pion Hamil­ton qual­i­fied 13th and ended up sev­enth, with his Fin­nish team mate fourth.

“That in­con­sis­tency has been fol­low­ing us through the sea­son, and on the op­po­site side Fer­rari put the car on track in Barcelona and they were quick from the getgo,” said Wolff.

“So yes, we are the un­der­dog and we need to catch up. This is the new re­al­ity at the mo­ment.”

Hamil­ton has won twice in Monaco, in­clud­ing last year’s race, and Mercedes had won the last four races in the Mediter­ranean prin­ci­pal­ity. Reuters

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