“We were fighting with one hand tied behind our backs” says Wolff, following bittersweet qualifying


Toto Wolff - Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Mercedes AMG Petronas  F1 Team CEO & Team Principal Toto Wolff has said the team were “fighting with one hand tied behind their back”.

This follows Lewis Hamilton‘s car troubles, causing him to drop out of qualifying after Q1 after an issue with the powered steering.

“From what we can see in the data, we had an hydraulic as Lewis used the Turn 1 kerbs in a normal way” said Wolff.

“With failed powered steering from the loss of hydraulic pressure, that’s when we saw the car bouncing dramatically on the TV.”

MIXED FORTUNES

Hamilton’s misfortune meant that team-mate Valterri Bottas was able to clinch provisional pole, although German Sebastian Vettel had topped the tables for Ferrari by the end of the session, Bottas pushed down to P2.

For Valterri, it was a mega final lap that put him on provisional pole – especially in the third sector – where he was fastest of everybody by a big margin.

“But Sebastian and Ferrari were just that bit stronger than us today”.

Hamilton is known for his exceptional recovery drives, and Wolff is confident he will be able to repeat the feat as he did last time out at Silverstone.

“It will be a tall order for Lewis to come through the field tomorrow but we saw already in Silverstone how well he can fight back.”

Wolff believes that Ferrari may be difficult to beat, “They were particularly strong in the middle sector and it’s clear that they have found a lot of power in the last races – and that we need to catch up.

“It will be a challenging race tomorrow but we saw very close matched long runs from everybody in practice yesterday.

“The conditions will be cooler, so it will be interesting to see if and how that changes the competitive order.” he added.