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Toto Wolff unsure Mercedes could have beaten Ferrari in Australia

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Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff is unsure that the team could have beaten Ferrari to victory in Australia even if it had perfected its strategy.

Lewis Hamilton led the early part of the race from pole position for Mercedes, only to make an early pit stop after struggling on his super-soft tires.

After losing time stuck behind Max Verstappen, Hamilton lost the lead of the race to Sebastian Vettel, who was then able to pull away and win the opening race of the year for Ferrari.

The result did little to resolve who of Mercedes and Ferrari is quicker in 2017 following the tight battle between Vettel and Hamilton, but Wolff was confident that the advantage lay in the Italian marque’s camp.

“We thought that Max would pit earlier and then Lewis would be in free air. It was a combination of variables that went against us,” Wolff explained when asked about Mercedes’ strategy, as quoted by the official F1 website.

“In hindsight you are always smarter. But as a general summary we weren’t quick enough – that’s why Sebastian is the deserved winner.

“For sure we could have done better. Would we have been good enough to win? I don’t know. Sebastian could have attempted the undercut at any stage and it could have come up the same way.

“But why we didn’t have the pace at the beginning of the race, in these conditions, I don’t know.”

Mercedes has enjoyed an impressive record in F1 since the start of the V6 turbo era in 2014, with Sunday’s loss to Ferrari being just the ninth race it had failed to win in that period.

Wolff was sure that the team would take the loss on the chin and be stronger for it, with its focus immediately being on bouncing back in China on April 9.

“It is personality-building! But in the end you win some and lose some,” Wolff said.

“We have been very fortunate in the last three years that we’ve won most of the races –now it is about accepting that Ferrari have beaten us. But we will come out stronger out of this weekend.

“We didn’t have a great pre-season and we haven’t had a great Sunday today, but we will leave no stone unturned to get better.”

Racing world reacts to Danica Patrick’s Daytona, Indy double news

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Here’s a sampling of quotes and social media reaction to Danica Patrick’s news announced earlier Friday that this would be her last full-time season as a driver, and that she’ll race in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 only in 2018.

This ends a full-time stretch in the top flights of NASCAR and IndyCar. She was in NASCAR from 2012 through 2017, and IndyCar from 2005 through 2011.

Her’s her own post on Twitter and Instagram.

Well…. 2018 Daytona 500 and Indy 500 here I come. 🙌🏼

A post shared by Danica Patrick (@danicapatrick) on

IMS President J. Douglas Boles

“We’re glad Danica plans to return to the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next May,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Her final career start will make what’s already shaping up to be a terrific Month of May even more interesting for our fans.

“It’s also fitting that Danica is wrapping up her career at the place and in the race where she became a household name and captured the world’s attention in 2005 – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500. We’re looking forward to seeing her back in an Indy car next May alongside all of the tremendous drivers of the Verizon IndyCar Series.”