Toto Wolff explains Lewis Hamilton and George Russell’s biggest challenge

Toto Wolff has insisted that Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will need to manage their expectations in order to help Mercedes close the gap to Red Bull next year. The Silver Arrows have lagged well behind their rivals over the last two seasons, with Red Bull simply in a league of their own as things stand.

Mercedes ended up finishing 451 points adrift of Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship standings last season after failing to win a single Grand Prix all year long. They will be desperate to perform better at the next time of asking but will face a tricky task in closing down their bitter rivals at the front of the pecking order.

Wolff believes that Mercedes will need to set the right standards in order to stand the best chance of catching up, with the Silver Arrows taking plenty of ‘proactive steps’ behind the scenes.

Quizzed on what his team’s biggest challenge will be in 2024, Wolff told Mercedes’ official channels: “It’s to set the expectations right because we have a huge mountain to climb. There’s a team that is so successful and we have a big gap to close. At the same time, I believe we’ve taken some proactive steps to close that gap.

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“Is it going to be good enough? I don’t know, but we’re going to see it in testing and then in the first race in Bahrain. I’m super excited. I’d like to start going now. It’s the stopwatch that’s going to tell us what job we’ve done.”

It remains to be seen if Mercedes will fare better in 2024 after enduring another difficult campaign over the last 12 months. They finished the season on a high by beating Ferrari to second place in the Constructors’ Championship standings but they will be determined to put a greater deal of pressure on Red Bull next time around.

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“We learned a lot,” added Wolff as he reflected on last season. “The races and the seasons that are difficult are the ones where you learn the most, and we always say, the days we lose are the days our competitors are going to regret because we learn the most.

“I think there are so many lessons that we learned as an organisation, as humans, but also technically that will be beneficial going forward. I wouldn’t be able to pick one out, though, because there are so many things that we have looked at that will help us progress over the next year.”

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