Wolff unconcerned by German GP failings

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Toto Wolff has said that he is not getting too down over Mercedes’ failure to win the German Grand Prix despite Lewis Hamilton starting on pole position at the Nurburgring.

His teammate, Nico Rosberg, failed to make it through to Q3 after a misjudgement by the team and started P11. In the race, both drivers struggled with their tires with Hamilton eventually finishing P5 whilst Rosberg could only come home in 9th. Regardless, Wolff is still optimistic.

“Germany was not a huge disappointment, it was just disappointing,” Wolff explained to Autosport.

“It is not nice to see a car which won seven days before not performing in the same way – going from a top car back to a midfield performance.”

Mercedes had won the previous race at Silverstone through Rosberg and the team appeared to have quelled its tire problems that had blighted its form at the beginning of the season. However, these issues re-emerged in Germany after Pirelli introduced its prototype tire for the race, before changing to the 2012 constructions at the Hungarian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

“But we know the car is pretty quick,” Wolff asserted. “A car doesn’t deteriorate in just seven days.”

Mercedes are seen by many as outsiders for the constructors’ championship, currently trailing Red Bull by 67 points.

Neuville wins Rally Australia; Ogier takes FIA WRC title

Sebastien Ogier. Photo: Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Belgium’s Thierry Neuville won Rally Australia by 22.5 seconds on Sunday as torrential rain added drama to the last day of the last race of the World Rally Championship season.

Neuville entered the final day with an almost 20 second advantage after inheriting the rally lead Saturday when his Hyundai teammate, defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen crashed and was forced to retire for the day.

His lead was halved by Jari-Matti Latvala early Sunday as monsoon-like rain made conditions treacherous on muddy forest stages on the New South Wales coast. The rain stopped on the short Wedding Bells stage where Neuville was almost 5 seconds quicker than his rivals, stretching his lead to 14.7 seconds entering the last stage.

COFFS HARBOUR, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 17: Thierry Neuville of Belgium and Nicolas Gilsoul of Belgium compete in their Hyundai Motorsport WRT Hyundai i20 coupe WRC during Day One of the WRC Australia on November 17, 2017 in COFFS HARBOUR, Australia. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)

That stage was full of incident. The driver’s door on Neuville’s Hyundai i20 coupe swung open in the middle of the stage and Neuville had to slam it closed as he approached a corner.

Latvala’s Toyota then crashed seconds from the end of the stage, allowing Estonia’s Ott Tanak, in a Ford, to take second place overall and New Zealalnd’s Haydon Paddon, in a Hyundai, to sneak into third.

Sebastian Ogier was fourth after winning the final, power stage but the Frenchman had already clinched his fifth world title before Rally Australia began. Neuville’s win was his fourth of the season, two more than Ogier, and was enough to give him second place in world drivers’ standings for the third time in five years.

Ogier owed his drivers’ title to his consistency: he retired only once and finished no worse than fifth all season.

Neuville admitted the last day was touch and go as the rain made some stages perilous, forcing the cancellation of the second to last stage.

“That was a hell of a ride,” Neuville said. “Really, really tricky conditions.

“I kept the car on the road but it was close sometimes. I knew I could make a difference but I had to be clever. You lose grip, you lose control and the car doesn’t respond to your input.”