Toto Wolff is adamant the form book is out of the window this season, leaving “no clear favourites” for Spa despite Mercedes have won the past three Belgian races.
Although it was initially Ferrari who have had the impetus in this year’s championship, the pendulum has swung back and forth between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.
At present, it is leaning towards Hamilton.
Back-to-back wins ahead of the summer break saw the British racer take a 24-point lead in the championship ahead of his German rival.
Lewis Hamilton was on 🔥🔥🔥 last year in Spa! pic.twitter.com/rZMkPBXqLX
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) August 20, 2018
“After five races in six weeks before the summer break, the shutdown came at just the right time,” said Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff.
“It gave us the opportunity to recharge a little and return energised for what will certainly be a hard-fought second half.
“Both the Drivers’ and the Constructors’ Championship are extremely tight, and I expect it to be a close battle all the way through to Abu Dhabi.
“Our first stop after the summer break is Spa – an historic circuit that has been the venue of some of the most spectacular races in F1 history.
“Corners like Eau Rouge are known to race fans around the world and the race always attracts a huge and very enthusiastic crowd.
“From a team’s perspective, the circuit is quite tricky, as it is not easy to find the right set-up for a track that has long straights, considerable changes in elevation and high-speed corners.
“You want to have enough downforce to be quick through the corners, but at the same time not carry too much drag for the long straights.”
But while Wolff is hoping for a strong showing at Spa, with Mercedes having won the past three years running, he concedes this year’s championship has shown that past records count for very little.
“It’s very difficult to make any predictions for Spa,” he continued.
“If this season has taught us one thing, it’s that there are no clear favourites for specific tracks anymore and that it’s not always the fastest car that wins.
“Instead, the competitive balance seems to swing back and forth from circuit to circuit. What is clear is that our competitors are pushing extremely hard and put up a very tough fight.
“So, we need to keep our heads down, work hard to eliminate our weaknesses and further build on our strengths, and take the season race by race.
“2018 promises to be a season that we will still be talking about in years to come and we can’t wait to get out there and start racing again.”
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