Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport‘s fourth front row lockout of the season was thanks to “human factors, not the machines“, says team boss Toto Wolff.
Qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix was the absolute test of all a team’s members, as sporadic rain in the first session turned into torrential rain in the final one, and strategists, pit crew, engineers and drivers alike had to constantly react to the changing conditions.
Whilst it initially looked like Scuderia Ferrari was doing the best job of this, seeing Sebastian Vettel set the fastest times in the first and second session, Mercedes managed to bring it round for the third and final session, landing Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas into first and second respectively.
Following months of speculation over whether Ferrari’s sudden increase in engine power is legal, Wolff said that the difference in the final qualifying session was due to human factors – not down to the cars.
“That was such a tough qualifying, with a mix of UltraSoft, Intermediate and wet tyres at different points of the session – and the kind of day when it’s easier to drop the ball than not,” said Wolff.
“Ferrari looked a little bit better than us in the dry and on the intermediate tyre, perhaps we had a small advantage when it came to the extreme wet. But the difference today was made by the human factors, not the machines.
“Our team responded with calm focus to the ever-changing conditions, we saw the storms popping up and reacted in the right way, then it all came down to one lap on the wet tyres – and both Lewis and Valtteri nailed it. Congratulations to both of them on a faultless job. We have given ourselves the best starting position for tomorrow, now we need to turn that into a strong result.“