/ Motorsport

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes Mercedes are title contenders

Updated: Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 08:56 | Comments

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg celebrate with Toto Wolf (centre) after victory in Malaysia
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg celebrate with Toto Wolf (centre) after victory in Malaysia

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff believes the right ingredients put together over the last few years have finally turned the team into Formula One title contenders this season.

With Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the wheel, Mercedes have so far dominated the first three grands prix going into this weekend's fourth round in China.

Rosberg currently leads the championship by 11 points after winning the season-opener in Australia and finishing runner-up to Hamilton in the last two races in Malaysia and Bahrain.

The skills of the two drivers, allied to what has gone on over the past few years at the team's headquarters in Brackley and power-unit plant in Brixworth, means Mercedes lead the way.

"When Mercedes decided to join Formula One and join the Brawn team (following that marque's championship successes in 2009) the aim was to continue from where Brawn ended," said Wolff.

"But it didn't go the right way because at that stage the resource restriction agreement, which was still a realistic option, did not pan out the way it should have done.

"And when I came in it was clear the way the team was set up, its resources were not enough to run at the front.

"They understood that in order to be competitive, to win a world championship, they had to ramp up the resources.

"But it's not only about money, it's about having the right people with the right skills who are competent in the field in which they are active.

"It's about putting the organisation together, having the engine, the drivers, the management, the engineers, the right spirit.

"If you put all of those ingredients together then success is going to come.

"Last year we had success at the beginning of the season, which was not anticipated, and through the year our performance slipped away.

"But foundations were built, and with the additional ingredients it has developed to where it is now."

Hamilton, meanwhile, is hoping his last win in Bahrain has delivered a psychological blow to Rosberg as they scrap over the championship.

Although the cards fell Rosberg's way, Hamilton produced a brilliant defensive drive over the closing 10 laps to keep his team-mate at bay and clinch back-to-back wins for the first time in almost four years.

It was a crucial strike from Hamilton so early in the campaign, one that may yet impact on Rosberg.

"You are always trying to get that (psychological) edge," said Hamilton.

"I did it during all three practice sessions (when Hamilton was the quickest) but then all of a sudden it had disappeared in qualifying, and then he (Rosberg) was on a high (after taking pole position).

"It's swings and roundabouts. I guess it's about who is strongest. I can't say who is right now, but I'm trying to be as strong as I've ever been in my life."

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