“I hope to make amends for qualifying past year and I’m confident we can have a competitive race”.
“The fans were passionate previous year so we look forward to putting on another good show for them”.
“We return to Russian Federation with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first Constructors’ title for Mercedes-Benz with a 1-2 finish”. “The championship is not over because my worry is this next race at Sochi has Singapore-type asphalt”, he said. As a result, we have gone a step softer with the tyre nomination this year to help us get back into the two to three pit stop window, which is what we desire for every race. “So, I’m aiming to put all those tools they’ve given me to good use and bring home a top result”.
Team boss Toto Wolff says Mercedes can not to take its Suzuka level of performance – where the Hamilton and Rosberg scored a one-two – for granted. We had to hit back strongly after Singapore and that objective was achieved on all fronts – in the cockpit and in the garage.
But Lauda, the retired triple world champion who is now non-executive chairman of the Mercedes team, feared Sunday could be more like Singapore than Suzuka. This was a tricky weekend last season, with a new circuit to learn and fresh tarmac which produced slightly unusual behaviour from the tyres.
And Lowe thinks Pirelli may have been influenced in its choice after Nico Rosberg a year ago managed to complete “almost the entire race on a single set of tyres”. “The track has quite a wide variety of different corners, so it makes for a good all-round test for the tyres, with the drivers able to benefit from the extra speed of the supersoft this year”.
Mercedes is wary of another drop in form at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix if it fails to get the super-soft and soft tyres working at the Sochi Autodrom. “And, of course, our aim is to score points again”.