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"It's not his low, it's the low of the car performance," says Wolff


Declaring the W13 "undriveable", Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff vows to protect Lewis Hamilton in the wake of Imola nightmare.

It is ironic that the word schadenfreude is German, for many are clearly getting a big kick out of the German team's struggles this season, and those of its world championship winning driver, Lewis Hamilton.

While it was to be expected that former teammate Nico Rosberg would find it hard to contain his delight, even the Sky pundits, who only a few months ago were singing his praises, appear to be making the most of Hamilton's slide down the order.

In the aftermath of a disastrous Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, as Hamilton wrote-off any hopes of challenging for the title, team boss, Toto Wolff leapt to his defence, vowing to protect the driver with whom the team has won countless titles.

"You know, I have to protect him," said Wolff according to Motorsport Week. "It's not his low. It's the low of the car performance.

"We know that he is a seven-time world champion," he continued, "he caught up last year and nearly fought for the championship while it was lost Saturday of Brazil. The guy is the best driver in the world and he is not having a machine and equipment underneath him to be able to execute.

"It is even irrelevant whether you come 8th, 12th, 15th, doesn't matter," he added, "it's all bad.

"But the real stars, they have recovered... there is none out of the really great ones that come into my mind that didn't have certain moments in their careers that things didn't run properly.

"That is the case now with him since a long time," said the Austrian, "he's going to help the team to sort themselves out and we are sticking together through good and bad times and today certainly was a very bad day.

"The car was undriveable in the way it was undriveable," he said of the porpoising that continues to compromise the W13's performance. "You see the bouncing on the main straight, I wonder how the two of them can even keep the car on the track at times.

"Lewis deserves better from us," he admitted. "The guy is the best driver in the world and he is just not having the machine and the equipment underneath him to be able to execute.

"But we are a team so we all need to do the utmost in order to provide him with a machine that is able to fight for front positions."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Imola, here.


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1. Posted by kenji, 26/04/2022 23:25

"@Meatball....I have no great love for Rosberg but I do welcome his comments in a world where alternative opinions are simply 'cancelled' if they don't fit whatever narrative F1's social engineers choose as flavor of the day. Rosberg has unique insights into the complex internal operations of Mercedes and he's not afraid to expose them or, at the very least, raise them in line with what he sees as false narratives. Yes, to some he appears smug but I see that as reactive and simply a misread persona. He certainly fought a battle whereby the odds were very much stacked against him....and won. Surely that's a plus? IMO we need to encourage more non aligned comment and we could well start with numerous Sky pundits currently on the payroll. I thought that Naomi Schiff did a very good job last weekend and she was quite open and challenging when the need arose."

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2. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 26/04/2022 19:26

"Interesting comments to date.
All the "greats" usually have the best car available at the time to them.
Fangio jumped through multiple manufacturers to make sure he had the top machine at the time in order to win.
Merc have been top dog for years and are still a great team.
They happen to have got a fundamental issue with the car that is going to take a while to sort out.
Williams had this in 2017, McLaren have had this off and on for years.
Merc have been brilliant up until now and will no doubt know what is wrong and how good their car should be.
Where they appear to be lacking is in how to fix the issue with the design philosophy / path they have chosen to follow.
What we don't know is what each driver is doing regarding setup each weekend.
I suspect that both are trying different things so that the team can find out what works and what doesn't, sometimes this will suit Russell and sometimes Hamilton."

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3. Posted by meatball, 26/04/2022 17:14

"Sky really needs to ditch Nico. I'm no "Lewis Fan" but Nico is really just terrible at this job. He cannot contain his love for a driver's problems. He's clearly not Toto's buddy as seen in several in-person interviews where Toto looked close to throwing a punch. Nico is smug and very biased. The rest of the Sky team seems to be able to explore Merc's flaws without looking like they are pouring gas on a dumpster-fire.

Regarding Ham. Yeah, he needs to step his game up and stop bitching. They have a pig for a car right now. Clearly George is used to driving pigs - he's shown this quality recently in qualifying and racing... Lewis has always had one of, if not THE best car under him. For a guy that loves to say he can overcome adversity - he isn't right now. If he doesn't focus, he's going to get run over by GR. I have no doubt that MB will recover - they are an engineering powerhouse - though too many more races like they've had and hope for the season is lost. P3 is about all they can hope for in the MFG championship - IF they get their poop in a group."

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4. Posted by Superbird70, 26/04/2022 15:26

"Honestly, Toto is simply coming to the defense of an employee. I would hope my manager or supervisor would do the same. Mclaren did the same for Daniel when he was having troubles compared to Lando, and no one made any fuss."

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5. Posted by kenji, 26/04/2022 10:59

"@Spindoctor... just how little you actually know. Prior to me posting here on Pitpass I participated for many years in dialogue on the original 'JA on F1'site until James left to run Motorsprt. I was highly critical of
Vettel's/ RB's dominance despite it only being four WC's. Apparently you have not understood the very basics of my post and I can't spell it out any clearer for you. If you cannot grasp the inherent tenet of what I have stated then so be it but I feel that you are looking to inspire a 'pile on' and by utilising terms like antagonism/ hostility which are quite harsh words... they're yours not mine... I'm not going there. "

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6. Posted by Spindoctor, 26/04/2022 10:14

Given your self-exculpatory essay below and your oft expressed dislike of Mercedes\Hamilton's dominance of F1 for the last few years, I'll expect you to be similarly critical & aggrieved when RBR (as looks highly likely) waltzes to a championship (or 2, or 3...).

Like @Egalitarian & I'm sure many others, I find your antagonism & hostility to all things "Hamilton" hard to fathom: in terms of Formula 1, anyway."

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7. Posted by kenji, 26/04/2022 7:17

@ Egalitarian...Firstly I do not 'hate' as you state. That's a typical cliched response made by the cancel culture club members. Perhaps you should widen your knowledge base, read the many and varied statements made in the wider F1 press. You would then see and hopefully understand the lightness of my comments.
You should also take into account the fact for some eight years or so, we, dedicated followers, have been battered mercilessly, left right and centre,and incessantly by this obsession with all things Hamilton/Mercedes. Now when the boot is on the other foot you expect no one to vent their pleasure at seeing someone else take their richly deserved place at the top table. Ask yourself why Wolff would claim that he has to 'protect' Hamilton a 37 year old adult? From what? Nasty people who see through the chimera? So in your book Wolff can state that but no one should make an alternative statement.I would aslo point you to any major F1 aggregtion site and see how many headline stories are focused on Hamilton!
Times are changing. I would also respectively suggest that Pitpass is an appropriate site for any and all moderately constructed F1 discussion so long as it is not defamatory and falls with the framework of rules set by the Ed. It is not your place to seek any redress simply as it clearly upsets your 'wa' . As for positives, well here we go again. i am extremely positive about most things F1... like sprints, Miami et al, along with most of the new drivers and those in the F1 circle that exhibit style and class alongside intelligent comment. Finally, just chill a little and when you see my sig appear, just fast fortward and ignore me'll be far happer and I promise not to be upset at all if you do. See, it's all very easy to resolve.


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8. Posted by Egalitarian, 26/04/2022 0:36

"@kenji - I think there's probably a better forum than Pitpass to express your hatred of all things Lewis Hamilton. You've hated on the guy for years and it's old and tired (like Lewis perhaps - beat you to it...) . Perhaps focus on something positive and give everyone on this forum a break."

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9. Posted by kenji, 25/04/2022 22:51

"@ Rock Doc...what we are witnessing right now is the gradual deconstruction of a popular misguided media myth, that the driver is 'el primo gato' to the exclusion or diminution of other pertinent factors. That is not so and never has been. Each and every car has the 'law of physics' governed capabilities that cannot be exceeded. Yes, some drivers have the ability to exploit those capabilities better than others but at the end of the day it's the car that determines the outcome. IMO. Individual strengths and weaknesses also greatly affect outcomes as demonstrated by the variances in wet and dry racing and this applies to both car and driver with the emphasis on the latter. Maybe one day we'll get an ' expose' from Rosberg explaining the complexities of what goes down in the Mercedes backrooms. Would make for a fascinating read....

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10. Posted by Rock Doc, 25/04/2022 12:55

"The car was able to get 4th. Hamilton needs to up his game if he is going to be a challenge for Russell who has been super consistent, even if he has been willing to shacke himself to bits. "

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11. Posted by Lapps, 25/04/2022 10:10

"With George 9 places ahead, you do have to wonder if Lewis should be looking for a Team with a faster car, or perhaps, a Team with a slower team mate?"

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12. Posted by kenji, 25/04/2022 8:28


'Lewis deserves better from us' , what a load of old garbanzos. That's just an exercise injust public breast beating/bodice tearing and pandering to the fans and followers...and to a driver who is finding it hard to cope. Well, welcome to the real world of F1. By comparison doesn't Russell also deserve 'better from us', but he doesn't even get a mention despite just getting on with it and racking up some nice points. Finally Toto, he's not best in the world...he's one of the best who happened to luck into one of the best cars that F1 has ever seen. and that just happened to be multi championship winning combination. All this talk about 'finding a key to unlock the potential [?] in this car is garbage.The car is [ realtively ] a dud ATPIT. They have made a fundamental mistake and despite their team of 'engineering cream' they are at a loss to know why. There's absolutely no way that they can euphemystically say that it has 'potential'. How could they possibly know that? They're dreaming. I'm no expert in aero/physics but of all the claims to know where the possible problems lie i would hazard a guess and say that the radical'no pods' approach has a fair degree of merit simply based on the degree of bouncing compared to other teams. Rant temporarily suspended at 18.20 pm.Monday the 25th."

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