Toto Wolff reckons Nico Rosberg was lucky not to join Lewis Hamilton in retirement
"Nico was just a bit luckier," Merc boss says after drivers experience mixed fortunes in Canadian GP
By Mike Wise
Last Updated: 09/06/14 5:43pm
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff believes it was only luck that kept Nico Rosberg in the Canadian GP and prevented Lewis Hamilton from finishing in Montreal.
After spending the first half of Sunday’s race fighting for the lead, the Silver Arrows developed identical problems almost simultaneously, centred on their hybrid systems which recover energy under braking.
The failures placed a much greater strain on the rear brakes of their respective cars, but whereas Hamilton was forced into retirement shortly after making his second pit stop on lap 45, Rosberg managed to nurse his W05 to second place behind Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull.
As a result, the German has moved 22 points clear in the drivers’ standings and whilst Wolff praised his driver's “sensational” effort in making the chequered flag, he also acknowledged that good fortune played its part - even though Rosberg was arguably helped by a forward brake bias setting on his car.
“They had exactly the same problem and I think, at the end of the day, that Nico was just a bit luckier,” Wolff told Sky F1's Midweek Report. ”The brakes failed, both of them were compliant when we told them to save the brakes, and when Lewis came into the pits, the car was standing, he started the car, the temperatures just peaked, the brake pedal got soft and then faded completely.
“It didn’t happen with Nico, but that was just luck I would say.”
Although the result can hardly be described as a major setback for the runaway leaders, there was disappointment all the same for Mercedes, who had hoped to earn themselves an unprecedented sixth straight 1-2 finish.
Wolff said they hadn’t expected such a run – Mercedes’ only other retirement so far also befalling Hamilton at the season-opening Australian GP.
“I remember when we entered the season we expected many more DNFs and reliability being much more of an issue. And today we have seen, in the seventh race of the season, that it’s still very complicated systems,” he said.
“It was a problem we didn’t see coming – or did see coming too late – and mixed fortunes. I’m very sad for Lewis, having lost all the valuable points. Equally, Nico drove a sensational race with a really handicapped car to finish second. So ups and downs.”
But with Red Bull claiming their first win of the season, Wolff appreciated the irony of Mercedes re-asserting themselves at the upcoming Austrian GP on a Zeltweg track owned by the energy drinks giant.
“It would be awesome,” he grinned. “We will try to come back stronger than we have been here and hope to take a trophy or two back home on Sunday night in two weeks.”
The Midweek Report will be broadcast at 8.30pm on Wednesday night on Sky Sports F1, with former Williams boss Patrick Head and journalist Maurice Hamilton joining Anna Woolhouse in the studio