Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff finds devastating words for the Formula 1 Silver Arrow. Star driver Lewis Hamilton is happy when he gets rid of the car soon. But will it get better?
George Russell expressed his frustration over the radio during the race. But the absolute low point for the once so successful German Formula 1 works team Mercedes was still to come.
“A race to forget,” said Lewis Hamilton about the São Paulo Grand Prix. Team boss Toto Wolff’s verdict on Sunday evening in Brazil was devastating: “This car doesn’t deserve a win.” Two more races and hopefully he will never have to drive “this thing” again, said Hamilton.
A year ago, Mercedes achieved their only victory of the 2022 season in Brazil, and Russell also won the sprint race. And after the recent appearance in Austin and Mexico City, the Silver Arrows team had hope that they could be at the top again in Interlagos. But DNF was behind Russell’s name, meaning he didn’t finish. Eighth place went to Hamilton, who passed through in the second half of the Grand Prix.
“Horror show,” wrote the British tabloid “The Sun” in large letters on Monday. “Lewis Hamilton and Russell experience a nightmare at the Brazilian Grand Prix as (Max) Verstappen’s victory wipes the smile from Mercedes’ faces.”
Wolff said it was an inexcusable performance. He would be at a loss for words. However, the 51-year-old Austrian, known for clear statements, quickly found it again: “The car felt like it was on three wheels, not four.” What they did with Hamilton’s second place a week earlier in Mexico “was terrible,” Wolff told Sky before leaving.
Instead of initial anticipation on the plane on the return trip to Europe for the upcoming spectacle in Las Vegas, the hours above the clouds were probably marked by the crash landing on the Autódromo José Carlos Pace. Processing is called for in order to save what can still be saved. The spectacular comeback in Las Vegas is in less than two weeks, followed by the finale in Abu Dhabi.
Long Hamilton dry spell
Second place for Hamilton in the World Cup standings is hardly possible, 32 points behind Sergio Pérez. The 103-time Grand Prix winner has been waiting for his next victory for almost two years. And in the constructors’ championship, Mercedes is second, only 20 points ahead of Ferrari. It is the ranking that decides a lot of money and Mercedes won eight times in a row from 2014 onwards. The times are over. Red Bull is the new Mercedes and is clearing everything.
It doesn’t make things any easier that the Silver Arrows’ internal relationship between the two pilots sometimes quickly seems vulnerable. As Russell waited in vain for the team to guide him past Hamilton, who from his point of view was only holding him up, the 25-year-old hissed via radio to the command post: “Are we working together here or is everyone driving their own race?” The answer: “We are still discussing.”
For Russell, the discussions ended when his engine unit overheated and he had to park the car in the garage. “I’m sorry for them that they had to drive such a difficult car,” said Wolff: “The car is on a knife’s edge all the time and we have to make sure that we address this problem in the development of next year’s car Get a grip.” Frustration and low mood should not become a habit.
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