Mercedes trio of Toto Wolff, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell sum-up a weekend to forget in F1 Brazil GP after a baffling results.
After the highs last year, Mercedes were down and out in this year’s F1 Brazil GP. They made a solid start in the sprint only to drop back. The grand prix was no better as they had a decent start but started to drop back where even Aston Martin and Ferrari seemed quick.
They could only manage a sole points finish via Lewis Hamilton after a retirement for George Russell where his oil temperature in the power unit risked failure. Team boss Wolff was baffled and called his worst weekend in 13 years of being at Mercedes.
Not just him but even Hamilton and Russell hope and reckon it to be one-off where they perhaps didn’t get the set-up correct in some ways. Wolff revealed they ran a higher ride height but it wasn’t a problem as they also mulled for a pitlane start.
He was not bothered about the radio messages that the drivers made considering the focus on lack of performance. Hamilton, on the other hand, reckoned the floor didn’t work and it hurt their tyre performance as well along with wind.
Sum-up, another sprint weekend –
Wolff: “Totally baffling. At the same time unacceptable for all of us. We are a proper structure, solid team and that didn’t look like a solid team in the race. Interestingly that within three consecutive races you’re finishing a strong second, and both of them challenging Max, and then a week later you’re ending up nowhere. And I believe this is just not on. As I said, it is baffling. From a really quick car, the best balanced and drivers happy, to a nightmare. How’s that even possible? What is it? What is it that’s not right?
“I wouldn’t be surprised that we analyse the cars in the next few days and we find out that there was a mechanical issue in the way we set them up or something. But I don’t know what it will be. I think sprint race weekends have generally not been our strengths. We are working ourselves out of problems most weekends. [Performance] swings are on, but swings are not on from being almost quickest to being we wherever we ended up, eighth. But for me personally that was worst weekend in 13 years.”
Ride height –
Wolff: “We ran the car way too high, that is something probably carried it on…but that wasn’t the main reason for an absolute off weekend in terms of performance. There’s something fundamentally wrong mechanically rather. It’s not a rear wing and it’s not the car being slightly too high, because we’re talking a millimetre or two. That is performance, but that isn’t the explanation for a total off.”
Radio messages, pitlane start thoughts –
Wolff: “The race and the messages for us were completely irrelevant. There was nothing to manage or nothing to say. It was a complete statue. I think the fundamental issue was that the car was slow, so I have no problems with things being broadcasted because whether they are controversial or not, fundamentally if there is no performance like that and it is off, then who cares. As for pitlane start, we didn’t know fundamentally where we would have changed it because there is a much bigger issue and yeah we thought about that but when thinking about maximising points was probably right to start like this.”
Performance dip –
Hamilton: “No, I knew that we’d have a difficult day. Nothing changed in the car from yesterday to today. So I knew it’d be a tough one. Yesterday I just ate through the tyres with an unexpected lack of pace. And then I think I drove better today in terms of making my stints, but we were just slow. I don’t know. I’m sure there’s something within the set-up that we might have been able to have done a bit better, but whether or not that would have put us further up, I can’t say.”
What could be wrong, car turning left –
Hamilton: “My guess is that the floor is not working. The floor is not sucking it down. So that pushed us to go to a higher wing, and then we’re just massively draggy on the straights. And we’re losing so much time on the straights, there’s nothing I can do about it, and then we’re just sliding through the corners. So we have to look into why that is the case on this rough circuit. I don’t know. I’m sure there’s something within the set-up that we might have been able to have done a bit better, but whether or not that would have put us further up, I can’t say. Just the tyres are overheating, slow on the straights, no grip in the corners. It’s super-strange. I wondered if the tyre maybe hadn’t been done up or something but the car started turning right whilst I was going left. It was fine in the end. I think it must’ve been just wind or something, a gust of wind.”
Step back –
Hamilton: “Hard to say. Ultimately, in the moment, it is a step back. But as a team we’ll just come together and we’ll try and push forward. There’ll be a lot of analysis this week after today. I’m sure there’ll be things that will be like ‘ah, maybe if we had done this, it would have been better’. But I think still, ultimately, the car didn’t work here for some reason and that is the way it is.”
No performance –
Russell: “Mind-boggling weekend to understand. We had a relatively high expectation in this event and there was just absolutely no pace at all. We had the same car as the last five races, so clearly something went wrong with the tyres and in a sprint race weekend when you get it wrong, you can’t make amends for those issues. We were definitely a sitting duck. The choice we made to run a bit more downforce. When you run more downforce you’re meant to gain the speed through the corners, keep the tyres under control, and that wasn’t the case. We didn’t have the benefit we only had the negatives.”
Step back –
Russell: “I mean…it’s…so many question marks. It’s the same car we had since Austin, where the car’s been capable of podiums every race – even before then, Singapore, Qatar, capable of podiums. This is clearly a substantial, one-off event. We need to understand what we’ve got wrong because right now we don’t really know.”
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