Wolff plays down Mercedes’ Spa favouritism

Mercedes is tipped to perform well at Spa

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has denied that his team is firm favourites for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Spa-Francorchamps’ fast layout is expected to suit the longer-wheelbase Mercedes W08, which has performed strongly on similar circuits this year.

However, a highly competitive season to date and Ferrari’s dominance of the Hungarian Grand Prix prior to the summer break has Wolff cautious of Mercedes’ chances.

“On paper, people will assume that Spa should suit our car because it is a circuit where aerodynamic efficiency is extremely important,” said Wolff.

“But assumptions are dangerous; we have seen too many times already this season that the form book can be rewritten from one weekend to the next.

“So we will be making no assumptions; we have to tick off the items on our work list and make sure we do the best job to maximise our potential points score.

“The motivation and determination in the factory are greater than ever.

“Hungary showed the strength of our team, and we intend to use the second half of this season to prove that strength.”

Although the world championship fight is a contest in two between Mercedes and Ferrari, Wolff is mindful of the growing threat from Red Bull for individual race wins.

The Milton Keynes-based outfit had a disappointing start to the campaign but has gained performance on the back of recent upgrades, and was particularly competitive in race trim at the Hungaroring.

“From what we have seen in the first half of the season, the competitive balance will swing one way and another from circuit to circuit,” added Wolff.

“Red Bull will be a threat if they can build on the performance they showed in Hungary.

“So we need to keep our heads down, stay humble regarding our strengths, diligent about our weaknesses and take the season weekend by weekend.”

The Belgian Grand Prix, which marks Formula 1’s return from the northern summer break, commences with Practice 1 on Friday August 25.

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