Team Principal Toto Wolff is hopeful that Mercedes can push Ferrari for the runner-up spot in the 2022 constructors’ standings after “maximizing” their Italian Grand Prix points haul “on a track that doesn’t suit the team”.
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell started the Monza weekend within reach of the pace-setting Ferrari and Red Bull cars but dropped back as practice wore on and ended qualifying almost one-and-a-half seconds off pole position.
On race day, however, Russell capitalised on a host of grid penalties to convert a front-row start into another podium finish, while Hamilton fought his way through the field from P19 to claim fifth — adding important points to Mercedes tally.
“I think you (can) see that we are on a track that doesn’t suit us, (and) we are clearly third on the road, so (positions) three and five is probably the maximum (result),” Wolff told Sky Sports F1.
As for Hamilton’s drive from the back of the grid, he added, “It was enjoyable. In the beginning, it looked like [he was] a little bit stuck, but once the tyres came together, he was very quick.”
“I think it’s all to play for. We just need to do the best every single weekend and see whether we come out second,” Wolff said.
Asked if P2 would ‘soften the blow’ of an otherwise difficult campaign, he said, “Maybe a bit, but there [are] more blows that we are ending up 30 seconds behind the leader, and that is the gap that we need to catch up.”