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"Totally unacceptable," admits Wolff

NEWS STORY
27/03/2022

Still in shock at the seven-time world champion's early elimination, Mercedes boss admits: "This is not where we all expect the car to be."

While the fact that seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton failed to make it out of Q1 for the first time since... well since anyone car really remember... is bad enough, even more telling is the fact that by the end of qualifying only one Mercedes-powered car had made it into Q3.

While Red Bull and Ferrari continue their head-to-heads, the manufacturer that has set the standard throughout the hybrid era is clearly losing ground.

"I love competition, I always love competition," said a clearly disappointed Toto Wolff. "We had a really strong run of eight years leading the pack, not always but we kind of managed our way into the lead, but this time feels a bit like 2013 where we just weren't up to the speed of the Red Bulls and probably also the Ferraris."

2013, of course, was the year that Lewis Hamilton stepped into the seat vacated by Michael Schumacher, as Mercedes, then under the leadership of Ross Brawn, prepared for the hybrid era is was to dominate.

"We kept fighting and this is how I feel at the moment," said Wolff. "We need to fight.

"It is certainly totally unacceptable where we are on performance, " he continued, "we are third on the road, and sometimes not even that, like today. It's just not an option to stay where we are."

Equally stunned was Hamilton, whose shock was evident when told that (in Q1) he was losing seven-tenths to his teammate in the first sector.

Following his early elimination, the Briton described his car as "undriveable".

"I don't know how different the cars are set-up but the car was undriveable with the set-up I chose," admitted Hamilton. "But it's my own fault, I made some set-up changes.

"I don't know if that was everything to do with it, but it was very unstable," he admitted. "I don't what I'm going to be able to do tomorrow, but I'm a long way back."

"You can see between Lewis' and George's performance there was not huge set-up changes that happened," insisted Wolff. "But they were big enough to have dramatic consequence of the performance of the car, between going out in Q1 and making it solid into Q3.

"That's why this car is tricky to set-up, we had a lower drag rear wing, took the gurney off but still it wasn't enough to shave more drag off the car.

"Generally I would say this isn't a single problem," he added. "We have many parts of the car that don't work, that we don't understand, they don't perform enough, and this is not where we all expect the car to be."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Jeddah, here.

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1. Posted by kenji, 27/03/2022 12:08

"Watching other drivers and teams getting to mix it up and enjoy some success is ' music for the soul'. Long may it last. I think what has been shown, ATM ,is that there are numerous drivers who are more than capable of running at the sharp end and that all they needed was a competitive car as, according to one Sky pundit, the car is worth 90%+ and the driver contributes the balance. Can't say that I disagree. Mercedes aren't quite levelling with us either. Is it just a random fact that so many Merc engined cars are languishing at the bottom of the grid? I am not a dyed in the wool determinist but I don't have much time for 'consequences' either. It's also interesting that the Russell car is far from being undriveable...or so it appears. I also don't think that having the great motivator allege that they, the team, have all been 'asleep' ,as I would be sure that the entire team have no doubt worked very hard. Mercedes engine customer teams should also be piling in but then again who knows what's in the supplier contract. Sure, it's early days, but those teams racking up the early points are getting numbers on the board which serve them well when more equalisation happens, as it will. I am really enjoying seeing Bottas take it to his previous team...even if it eventually proves to be short lived. The 'wingman' has grown a pair of.....wings.
"

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2. Posted by RobMartin, 27/03/2022 10:14

"Hamilton fan or not (disclaimer - I'm not) Mercedes struggling is "good" for the sport overall. For too many years they've been the best at the first race and dominated the remaining season with little competition. Suddenly there are 4 people who could get pole at any race, surprising performances from Alpha, Haas & Alpine. On top of that is the looming question of when - and lets face it, its not an if! - will Mercedes catch up. 2022 is looking to be a really exciting season. I know people who have fallen out of love with F1 are suddenly turning back on. People who never cared for the sport before are asking me whats happened to Mercedes.... There are lots of good folk at Mercedes will be scratching their heads and I don't envy them the task ahead. "

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3. Posted by GordonG47, 27/03/2022 10:08

""We have many parts of the car that don't work..."

One of them appears to be the power unit."

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