After qualifying in Sochi, the head of the Mercedes team Toto Wolff summed up the day …
Question: Why didn’t you put Medium tires on Lewis in the last minutes of the second session?
Toto Wolff: We could not release it from the boxes earlier, because we had to turn off the machine and restart it through MGU-K. We knew that this would end up at the end of a tight group and the Medium tires might not warm up to the start of a fast lap. Therefore, we transferred it to Soft, partly sacrificed tomorrow’s strategy. But it was a necessary compromise to ensure he made it to the finals.
Q: Why couldn’t he stay on the track and drive another lap after the first fast lap time was canceled?
Toto Wolff: He had no fuel for the second lap.
Question: How difficult will it be for him to start tomorrow at Soft, what difficulties may arise?
Toto Wolff: We discussed different strategy options and found out that starting at Soft will not be optimal in tomorrow’s race. After a few laps these tires will lose efficiency and an early pit stop can ruin the race if you find yourself in traffic afterwards. But we know how great Lewis is able to overtake. Today he was the fastest on the track. I hope he will be able to win back tomorrow too.
Q: In such a difficult situation as today in the second qualifying session, were you nervous, or were you relaxed, since you have Lewis?
Toto Wolff: I wasn’t nervous at all. I’ve seen worse situations, and if anyone can recoup in such a situation, it is Hamilton. Obviously, there was a moment before the start of the fast lap when the situation was at the limit, but I did not feel any excitement.
Q: Lewis and Valtteri will have a different strategy in tomorrow’s race. Will it complicate the team’s work?
Toto Wolff: I don’t think so. Much depends on the start and their position after the second turn. In the past, Valtteri has already started here third – and led the race after the second corner. Now we cannot imagine who will lead tomorrow after the first round. When the riders of the team have different strategies, the situation is even easier to control.
Question on the decisive fast lap Max Verstappen was able to get ahead of Bottas. Why is Valtteri having problems?
Toto Wolff: During Saturday training, he felt that the behavior of the machine has changed compared to Friday. During the qualification, it seemed that the problems were gone, but then they reappeared. Obviously, Valtteri is capable of more. His circle was not what it should be, so Max managed to get ahead of him.