Wolff hails Mercedes "big step"


For a team that has won a record eight successive titles, fourth and sixth on the grid might not appear to be much to shout about, but in the wake of its difficult start to the season for Toto Wolff and his drivers Barcelona qualifying represents a massive step forward.

The German team might not have entirely done away with the porpoising phenomenon that has plagued it since pre-season testing but the raft of upgrades introduced this weekend do appear to have minimised its effect.

"Yeah, we understand now," said a clearly relieved Toto Wolff. "It's an aerodynamic effect that's created from the floor swinging and it was difficult to come to that conclusion in a scientific way.

"But the team around Mike Elliott and Jarrod Murphy have done it and that's great," he added, referring to Mercedes technical director and aerodynamics chief."

Though delighted with the step forward, Wolff isn't getting carried away however.

"It's step by step," said the Austrian. "The other teams have been able to continue to develop their cars, while we have been a little bit in a pause moment to find out about the bouncing.

"So, as soon as we can pick up the regular development, as soon as we understand the tyres better now the bouncing is gone, I think we will be catching up.

"I believe that we have done a solid step in Barcelona. You're trying to keep your expectations at a realistic point, and I think where we slotted in today is somehow the best we could have expected."

"The team have done such a great job," said Lewis Hamilton, "so a big, big, big thank you to everyone for continuing to push back at the factory.

"We don't have bouncing in a straight line, which is a huge improvement for us," he continued, "and the car has generally been nicer this weekend.

"We do have some bouncing through the high-speed corners like Turns 3 and 9," he admitted, "so we just need to keep working on that and improve it and see if we can gain more downforce elsewhere."

Referring to his qualifying performance, he said: "I'm a little bit gutted because I wanted to be further up ahead and you've obviously seen George is able to put it further ahead than I, but I'll keep pushing.

"Yesterday was like the best race pace we've had so if we can start racing with the Ferraris for example, that would be amazing," he said of the prospects for the race. "I think the Red Bulls look like they might be quickest, but we might be able to compete with the Ferraris, maybe. That's a big step for us."

"It wasn't actually our most perfect qualifying session," said George Russell, "we didn't really have the tyres in the right window and I felt like there was a lot more lap time on the table, yet we still came home in P4 with our best qualifying of the season.

"Looking at the pace on Friday, we have a better race car than qualifying car," he added, "so I think we've got a real chance against Ferrari. But Red Bull, especially Max, seem a little bit faster than the rest, so all to play for."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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Published: 22/05/2022
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