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F1 Raceweek: Mercedes taking no comfort in points advantage

25 wrzesień 2018 20:27

Mercedes are not taking any comfort in the points advantages they hold at the top of the drivers' and constructors' standings ahead of the Russian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton made it four wins from five in comfortable fashion in Singapore last time out and his lead at the top grew to 40 points with Max Verstappen beating Sebastian Vettel to second.

Despite Valtteri Bottas sitting behind Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen in the drivers' table this season, Mercedes also hold a 37-point lead over Ferrari in the constructors' rankings.

However, with six races still to go, Silver Arrows chief Toto Wolff knows they cannot become complacent as the season enters the final stretch.

"It's obviously better to have a lead than to not have it, but there are six races remaining and plenty of points to score, so it doesn't give us any comfort," said Wolff.

"We will continue to concentrate on every single session, trying to optimise the car in every possible area - and we will go for the race win.

"There is no naive optimism about our situation within the team: our mind-set is very positive, we are energised, the factories are buzzing and we're excited for the fight that we will certainly have in the next six races."

Mercedes have triumphed in each of the four grands prix in Russia since it returned to the schedule, but the fact it is taking place in November – having been moved from October to May in 2016 – adds an element of the unknown for the entire grid.

Wolff said: "We don't have any data from the current regulation cars in those [October] conditions in Sochi, so this adds another challenge to the race."

 

TALK OF THE PADDOCK

Daniel Ricciardo will leave Red Bull for Renault in 2019 after what he branded his "weirdest season", but he still thinks he is driving well.

Ricciardo said: "After Monaco, I was thinking that the season looked very promising, and that we might even be in with an outside chance of fighting for the title. I still feel I'm driving well and applying myself properly but for all sorts of reasons it hasn't really worked out since then."

Sauber will be racing with Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi next season after the Italian was promoted, and Marcus Ericsson plans to explore opportunities away from Formula One after losing his seat.

"I'm happy to continue working with Sauber next year in a new role. I'm also excited about exploring other racing options," Ericsson wrote on Instagram.

Giovinazzi joining Sauber takes another potential position away from Esteban Ocon next season and former world champion Nico Rosberg expressed his frustration at the situation the Mercedes development driver is in.

Rosberg told Autosport: "A situation like Ocon shouldn't happen. That is terrible… The guy has been driving so well and he doesn't have a drive."

 

STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 281
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 241 (-40)
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 174 (-107)
4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 171 (-110)
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 148 (-133)

Constructors

1. Mercedes 452
2. Ferrari 415 (-37)
3. Red Bull 274 (-178)
4. Renault 91 (-361)
5. Haas 76 (-376)

RACEWEEK SCHEDULE (all times local)

Friday

FP1 (11:00-12:30)
FP2 (15:00-16:30)

Saturday

FP3 (12:00-13:00)
Qualifying (15:00-16:00)

Sunday

Race (14:10-16:10)

F1 FACT

Ferrari have reached the podium in each of the last 10 races, their best run since 11 consecutive races in 2007 with Raikkonen and Felipe Massa.

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2017: Valtteri Bottas
2016: Nico Rosberg
2015: Lewis Hamilton

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