Given that the two Mercedes Formula One teammates have finished first and second in all five races so far this year, the thought might have crossed your mind to sleep in—or take a daytime nap during, depending on where you live—a race or two. But cool it, because even Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff doesn’t think it’s realistic to assume his team will win every race this year.
Whether that means he thinks they’ll only win 20 of the 21 grands prix this season, or a more modest 15, Wolff didn’t specify. (That’s probably not quite the unpredictability you were looking for, but it’s something.)
Motorsport.com reports that Wolff, when asked the possibility of his drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas winning all 21 events, gave a straight-up “No.” The story didn’t quote Wolff as saying he thought Ferrari would finally get its race car sorted out to contend for a whole race, or that Red Bull would be able to challenge at more than just Monaco.
Instead, Motorsport.com quoted Wolff as saying Mercedes, the dominant team, needs to “stay humble and keep both feet on the ground.” From the story:
“We’ve had five fantastic performances now and five one-twos but we don’t take it for granted. It’s not just saying it, it’s really the mindset that we have.
“The next two weeks are going to be a tremendous challenge for us. We’ve not had the performance in Monaco in the last years. Remember how strong [Daniel] Ricciardo was last year in the Red Bull? They were in a league of their own.
“We need to take one step at a time. The next race weekend looks challenging on paper.”
It might seem dramatic for Mercedes to be fielding questions about whether the team thinks it can sweep the entire season after five races, but it’s not that wild. As Motorsport.com quoted Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, who also said he doesn’t think Mercedes will sweep the season, as saying: “It’s very much a Mercedes championship. You can see that after five races that they’re three points off of maximum score.”
That’s exactly what the team is, too: With two drivers on each race team and a maximum of 44 points up for grabs per every two drivers each race—25 for the win, 18 for second place, and one point for fastest lap—a perfect score through five races would be 220 team points. The Mercedes team currently sits at 217, nearly 100 points ahead of second place, Ferrari.
Mercedes, which has won every driver and constructor championship since the era of the turbo V6 hybrid began in 2014, also got close to sweeping the season a couple of years ago—in 2016, the team won 19 of the 21 races, after winning 16 of 19 in both 2014 and 2015. They hovered around a 50- to 60-percent win rate in both 2017 and 2018.
Whatever happens, though, it should be interesting to watch how the rest of the season goes down—from whether anyone can do anything about Mercedes on track, to all of the wild things going on off of the track.