• IN WORDS: Marginal Gains Matter in F1 - Toto

Toto talks through mixed fortunes for the team in France...

'A solid step forward'

The pace of the W09 was encouraging at Paul Ricard, in part thanks to the introduction of the new engine specification and numerous small updates to the car.

While it wasn't the perfect Sunday in France for the team, it was great to return to the top step of the podium and leave the circuit in the lead of both Championships.

"I think what you saw in Montreal compared to Le Castellet is that marginal gains matter," Toto explained.

"We fell back in Montreal because we couldn't bring the new Power Unit. We were racing the first Power Unit for the seventh consecutive race while the others had upgrades, so that certainly didn't help.

"We're also constantly learning how to set the car up in the right way in combination with the tyres. And, of course, we brought some upgrades for the car which was good to see coming together.

"Thank you to everybody in the team who worked so hard to bring them to the track this weekend. All these gains in the respective areas added to a solid step which we could realise in just a few days in Le Castellet."

'The damage was quite extensive'

While Lewis enjoyed a more straightforward race to victory, Valtteri found himself in last place at the end of the opening lap after being spun around at Turn 1 by Sebastian Vettel.

He put in a determined recovery drive to seventh place, which was made all the more impressive by the amount of damage that his W09 suffered in that first-lap hit.

"The damage was quite extensive because it damaged the floor and Valtteri's comments on the car was that it was "shocking" to drive afterwards," Toto said.

"Taking that into account, it was a battling performance from him. But, it ruined his race.

"To be honest Sebastian misjudged the situation, took himself out of the race and lost valuable points. So, it bites them both.

"Whether five seconds is sufficient or not I don't want to judge that here. They both were last at that stage of the race so there was damage enough."