Wolff keeping his feet on the ground despite Mercedes’ success

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Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff is refusing to get ahead of himself despite the team’s blistering start to the 2014 Formula 1 season.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have won all five races so far this season, and have also picked up four one-twos in the process, giving the Silver Arrows at total of 197 points from a possible 215. In fact, it marks the most dominant spell in Formula 1 since McLaren back in 1998.

However, Wolff is refusing to assume that the team will once again dominate at next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.

“We came away from Barcelona with plenty of positive points and the most encouraging was that our development package worked, which allowed us to maintain a healthy gap to our rivals on that circuit,” he explained. “But Monaco is a different story every year. It’s a place that rewards driveability, confidence and a strong qualifying performance.

“Most of all, though, it’s about avoiding mistakes: the drivers have no room for error and neither does the team.”

Hamilton and Rosberg have been relatively error-free so far this year. In fact, both drivers have only made minor mistakes during qualifying, but they will need to be avoided in Monaco. Wolff went on to explain how the team is refusing to rest on its laurels, and continues to develop the W05 hybrid car at a rapid rate.

“We have been pushing hard since the last race and nobody will be backing off in our teams at Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart,” he said. “We are heading to Monaco with our feet on the ground because it is a place that can bite you if you get over-confident.

“We have a quick Silver Arrow and Lewis and Nico are specialists around the streets. But we need to bring every piece of the puzzle together if we want to maintain our run of success next weekend.”

Both drivers are chasing a second win in the principality, but the pressure will be on for them to get to the checkered flag in first and second at F1’s glamor event.

Hamilton leads damp first USGP practice at COTA, Hartley debuts

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Lewis Hamilton continued his impressive Formula 1 record at the Circuit of The Americas by topping opening practice for the United States Grand Prix on Friday for Mercedes.

A four-time winner of the USGP at COTA, Hamilton set the pace in damp conditions in first practice after rain hit the Austin area in the lead-up to the start of the session.

After initially venturing out on intermediate tires, Hamilton made the switch to super-softs at the halfway point in FP1, ultimately posting a fastest time of 1:36.335.

Hamilton’s time saw him finish over half a second clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who he could beat to the F1 drivers’ championship at COTA this weekend should results go his way.

Mercedes got two cars into the top three as Valtteri Bottas wound up third in the second W08 car, six-tenths back from Hamilton, while Max Verstappen ended FP1 fourth for Red Bull.

Felipe Massa led Williams into the top 10 with an impressive lap en route to fifth, finishing ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne.

Vandoorne was left to lead McLaren’s charge after a hydraulic leak sidelined Fernando Alonso for much of the session, limiting the Spaniard to just four laps in total.

Force India managed to get both its drivers up into the top 10 as Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez finished eighth and ninth respectively, edging out Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. who was P10 in his first appearance for the team.

Brendon Hartley enjoyed his first run-out in Toro Rosso’s STR12 car ahead of his grand prix debut on Sunday, taking P14 overall.

The New Zealander had not driven an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 2012, but put in a solid first display in practice, even though his race hopes are set to be hindered by a grid penalty.

Second practice for the United States Grand Prix is live on the NBC Sports app from 3pm ET today.