Azerbaijan GP: Wolff Predicting Another “Tricky” F1 Weekend for Mercedes

Published 06/02/2021, 2:50 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – Mercedes Executive Director Toto Wolff in the FIA Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS


If there’s one team that everyone on the grid wants to beat, it’s Mercedes. The Brackley-based outfit, led by Toto Wolff, are seven-time back-to-back double world champions, gunning for an eighth title this season.

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However, the Silver Arrows have met their match in Red Bull this year. After a disappointing weekend in Monaco, the Austrian outfit overtook Mercedes in both championships, leading them for the first time since 2013. With Mercedes needing to bounce back in Baku, Wolff gave his thoughts on the upcoming Azerbaijan Grand Prix, and his expectations from the weekend.

Toto Wolff believes Baku will be tricky for Mercedes

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Mercedes endured one of the worst weekends in their recent F1 history in the Monaco Grand Prix. Although Lewis Hamilton finished P7 with the fastest lap, it wasn’t enough to stop Max Verstappen and Red Bull from overtaking them in both championships.

Street circuits are often Mercedes’ Achilles heel. With Baku being a street circuit, Wolff believes the Silver Arrows could be in for another tough weekend. He believes so because such circuits don’t suit the traits that the Mercedes W12 possesses.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 15: Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff looks on in the Team Principals Press Conference during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Wolff said“Baku is next up. While it’s a very different street circuit to Monaco, we expect it to be another tricky one for us, not particularly suiting the characteristics and traits of the W12.”

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Although their struggles on street circuits are well known, Mercedes have two wins in three editions of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton won the race in 2018 while Valtteri Bottas won in 2019.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP, Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP and Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff talk on stage at the F1 Live event during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

Wolff pointed out the teams which will mount strong challenges this weekend while also laying down Mercedes expectations. “Red Bull will be strong again, while both Ferrari and McLaren have made great progress recently,” said Wolff.

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“We’re expecting another challenge on the city streets and after the results of the last race, we’re more determined and fired-up than ever to bounce back in Baku.”

With F1 returning to Azerbaijan after two years, Mercedes will look to regain the championship lead this weekend. Although Wolff hasn’t spoken highly of their chances, many believe he is playing his cards close to his chest. Will Mercedes bring home their third win at the street circuit?

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Sanket Nair

116 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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